How soon can I settle my car accident case?
The majority of personal injury accidents settle out of court. Many settle even before a lawsuit is filed. This is because it’s not as costly as going to trial, and can be resolved in months, rather than years.
After you are in a personal injury accident, you should send notification letters as soon as possible. Those letters should be sent to the party at fault and his or her insurance carrier. Settlement negotiations may begin after those parties receive notice that you intend to pursue a claim. When insurance companies are involved, most will make an offer to settle with you.
Settlements may be entered into any time before or after a lawsuit is filed. Negotiations can continue up until the time the court makes a final decision. Some cases have even settled while the jury was deliberating at the end of the trial. After hearing the proofs, one of the parties may have felt that it would be better to settle.
Juries can be unpredictable. If it is sympathetic to your injuries, the insurance company may end up paying a much higher amount. On the other hand, the jury could conclude that the other party was not at fault. It does not happen often, but if it does, you would lose your case and receive no compensation.
There are many reasons that most personal injury cases settle out of court. The number one reason is the cost of going to court. Other reasons include:
- Lengthy trials are avoided. Some may take years to resolve.
- You may need the money for income and medical expenses and cannot afford to wait.
- If a company vehicle was involved, the company may choose to avoid publicity that could damage its image.
When you accept a settlement offer, you are required to sign a liability release. This means that you are releasing the other parties from any future claims related to the accident. You may also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement. In that case, you would be prohibited from telling anyone the settlement details.