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Is it better to settle or go to trial after an accident?

If the negligence, recklessness or intentional actions of another driver resulted in an accident that left you injured, your life may suddenly be taking a very different direction. Hospitalization, surgery, therapy, medication and other treatments may be the rule of life at this point. You likely have moments when you dwell on the unfairness of the situation, especially when the medical bills start to pile up.

While the thought of going through a trial to seek compensation from the other driver may be overwhelming, you may be able to obtain what you deserve through a settlement. One action you want to avoid is accepting the first and fastest settlement the insurance company offers without considering your prognosis and the total scope of your injuries.

Understanding a settlement

Most personal injury cases do not go to trial. Instead, the parties typically negotiate a settlement either before filing a lawsuit or at some point in the pre-trial proceedings. During these negotiations, you and the other driver – ideally through your attorneys – agree upon a sum of money that will compensate you for your injuries. You may also go through a settlement negotiation with the insurance company, who typically lowball accident victims with an initial offer.

The critical factor in negotiating a settlement after an accident is that when you agree to an amount of compensation, you will likely sign away your right to pursue more money in the future. Therefore, after signing a settlement, if you need further surgeries or develop serious complications related to your injuries, you will have no recourse to seek funds from the person responsible.

Think it through

There are many factors to consider before accepting a settlement. Obtaining as much information about your injuries and what kind of care you will need in the future is critical. A skilled Kentucky attorney can be of tremendous assistance with the following important tasks:

  • Discussing your case with your doctors
  • Weighing the strengths and weaknesses of your case and your opponent's evidence
  • Using experience to determine a fair amount to seek
  • Standing up for you against insurers
  • Knowing how to negotiate with other attorneys
  • Predicting your chances of winning if you go to trial instead of settling

It is seldom an easy decision to agree to negotiation rather than going to trial, but you may find one benefit is that negotiating a settlement may allow you to collect your compensation faster than you would after a trial and the long appeals process. Nevertheless, your attorney can help you decide the most appropriate path for your circumstances.

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