Are out-of-court settlements a good thing or a bad thing?
Honestly, it depends on the particulars of your case and whether or not they are offering a fair settlement. Only you can decide whether to accept a settlement or pursue a lawsuit, but it’s important to discuss these decisions with a lawyer.
When you think of a lawsuit, you probably picture two lawyers arguing in a wood-paneled courtroom in front of a judge and jury. While some Texas car accident lawsuits do end up in court, many are settled out of court when both sides come to a mutual agreement.
If you’re not represented by an attorney yet, be aware that the insurance company will never propose a settlement offer anywhere close to the actual value of your claim. They do this because they know that many victims are unfamiliar with the process, and will take any offer they get. Without an attorney on your side, you simply don’t have leverage when it comes to negotiating a settlement.
With that being said, let’s look at a few advantages of settling an injury claim out of court
- Speed. Depending on the complexity of the negotiations, settling out of court could save you a significant amount of time (especially if the party you are suing is willing to work toward a solution).
- Expense. A drawn-out court case can sometimes prove to be expensive, while an out-of-court settlement can save you on fees and other court costs that can add up quickly.
- Privacy. Many out-of-court settlements remain undisclosed to the public, while the results of court trials are open to the public. In addition, an out-of-court settlement may mean that your case gets less coverage and publicity than if a large trial took place.
- A sure outcome. If it’s up to a judge or jury to decide your case, you can’t be sure who they will side with or how much money they will award. In a settlement, you know how much you are getting – even if it may be less than what you originally asked for.
One thing that is important to note is that you should never—under any circumstances—entertain any settlement offers until after you have fully-completed medical treatment. You simply won’t know the extent of your financial damages until you’re done with treatment, and the insurance company knows this. They are not on your side, no matter how friendly they seem on the phone. Remember: their goals are completely contrary to yours.
Many car accident victims are surprised to learn that a large number of law firms (like ours) actually handle car accident injury claims on a no win, no fee basis. Under a contingency fee agreement, you will literally never pay a penny out of pocket to have us handle your claim from beginning to end.
Again, it is important to understand that all Texas car accident cases are different, and that there are many factors which can play a role when deciding whether to settle or pursue a court case. The right choice for one injury victim may not be the right choice for someone else. The best way to find out if an out-of-court settlement is the right choice for you is to speak with your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, call 1-877-405-4313 for a free consultation and let us explain the options available to you.