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Should I settle my car accident case out of court?

Most people may assume that when you are injured in a car accident and decide to purse a claim, it will go straight to court and be a lengthy stressful process. The numbers however show a different reality. While exact statistics are not readily available, most agree that 80 to 90 percent of car accident claims settle before a lawsuit is even filed. And of the cases filed in court a very small percentage go before a jury trial. It makes sense that many people who are injured in a car accident often ask their lawyer if they should settle or take their case to trial.

There is not a simple or "one size fit all" answer to this question. Every case is different and represents unique challenges. Imagine your claim is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. However, you do not have a picture of a puzzle to work from. Depending on the nature of the accident, the insurance coverage involved and your course of medical treatment, that picture may turn out to look much different that you initially thought. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to put the puzzle and your life back together following an injury accident.

What are the factors to consider when deciding whether to settle or go to trial? It often boils down to expense and time. Obviously settling out of court involves less time and expense. Whereas a trial can result in very high costs that will be reimbursed to the personal injury lawyer if the case is resolved in your favor.

Likewise, a trial in a personal injury claim will typically not occur for at least two years following your injury. Lawsuits can be lengthy and tiresome. When searching for a personal injury lawyer, it is important to ask whether they have the expertise to take your case all the way to trial.

Another advantage to a settlement is finality and predictability. You control the decision rather than handing that decision over to a jury of twelve strangers. Even if you win at trial, the verdict can be appealed adding years onto an already lengthy process.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on whether a settlement offer is fair and reasonable given all of these factors and more. It is important to know when searching for a personal injury lawyer if he or she has experience maximizing your recovery. Or are they the type of high-volume attorney that simply takes the best offer from the insurance company without working up your case.

Christopher W. Goode, is a nationally recognized trial attorney and founder of Goode Law Office PLC. While his practice is diverse, he is committed to only representing injured individuals. He is a past president of the Fayette County Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on legal topics. Chris currently serves as a District Vice President for the Kentucky Justice Association. He can be reached at [email protected] or www.goodelawyers.com 

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