You have the right to pursue compensation for your damages after an auto accident in the State of California. Your first attempt will usually be through the insurance system. If an insurance company offers you a settlement, you may either accept it or go to court in San Diego instead. Both routes have pros and cons. The right move for your case will depend on several factors, including your priorities and the facts of your case.
Most San Diego Cases Resolve Through Settlements
The vast majority of personal injury and property damage lawsuits based on car accidents resolve through settlements, without the claimant ever having to file a lawsuit or go to trial. Settlements are faster and save those involved money. Settlements also enable California’s civil justice system to remain more efficient rather than clogging it with dozens of auto accident claims. A settlement will also resolve faster than a car accident trial. If you decide to settle your San Diego car accident claim, you can expect a settlement check within about one month.
Settling your car accident case can help you avoid court hearings, expensive attorney’s fees and a jury decision that might not be in your favor. You remain in control during settlement negotiations, rather than the matter going to a judge or jury. It will remain up to you whether or not to accept the insurance settlement offered.
A personal injury lawyer can help you file your demand letter, negotiate with an insurance company and know when the insurer is offering a fair settlement. Using a lawyer during settlement negotiations increases your odds of resolving a case pre-trial. It might be appropriate to settle if your lawyer believes the amount offered is reasonable for your injuries and damages. Accepting a settlement will officially close your case, removing your right to file a subsequent lawsuit against the same defendant for the injury. Make sure settling is in your best interest before signing anything.
When Going to Trial Might Be Appropriate in San Diego
A conversation with your personal injury lawyer about your injuries, your future and the value of your claim could lead to you rejecting a lowball settlement offer from an insurance company. The insurer will then have the opportunity to come back with a better offer. Failure to offer a reasonable settlement amount could make it worthwhile to take your car accident case to court in San Diego. Taking the defendant to court could force the insurance company to offer better compensation through a mandatory judgment award.
In general, a personal injury trial could lead to a higher award than an insurance settlement. While compensation is never a guarantee during a car accident trial, it may be possible to obtain better results than with an insurance settlement depending on the factors involved in your case. For example, during a trial, a jury will listen to both sides and may award the plaintiff pain and suffering damages. It will be up to the jury to determine how much in pain and suffering compensation a claimant deserves.
You might also have to take your car accident case to court if the at-fault party’s insurance company denies your claim. Common reasons for an insurance claim denial include lack of evidence, missing information, a missed deadline or the company refuting fault. The insurance company’s denial of your claim will grant you the right to proceed to court. Your lawyer can represent you during a trial, helping you present evidence of the defendant’s fault for your collision to a judge and jury. It is the plaintiff’s burden to prove the defendant’s fault during an injury trial.
A trial may take longer and cost more than an insurance settlement, but it could end in the results you need after a serious car accident in San Diego. Conversely, a successful insurance settlement might be all it takes to obtain fair compensation for your related damages. Consult with an a skilled car accident attorney to find out which legal option is right for you.