Getting involved in a car accident involves a lot of aspects that usually boils down to a lawsuit. In this lawsuit, a determination of guilt and compensation for the damages incurred by the victim are settled.
Typically, when a lawsuit is discussed, a trial by court comes to mind where the image of a judge presides in a trial as lawyers from each side of the courtroom argue on the merits of the case in hopes to convince the jury to side with their respective clients. Anticlimactic as it may, most trials, specifically civil lawsuits including automobile cases, are settled outside the courtroom.
Will My Automobile Accident Case Go to Trial?
Perhaps, but probably not.
However, as noted above, an overwhelming majority of civil lawsuits, including automobile accident lawsuits, do not go to trial. Instead, most automobile accident cases are settled between the parties outside of the courtroom.
According to the American Judges Association, as many as 97% of civil lawsuits are settled other than by a trial. This means that most civil lawsuits, including automobile accident cases, are resolved between the parties and without much court interference.
This statistic is not surprising, especially in Louisiana, since there is a strong push from the legislation for parties to settle civil lawsuits without as much court interaction as possible. One of these laws is the Louisiana Mediation Act, which explicitly states that civil cases are encouraged to be settled under the mediation process.
Why Would I Want To Settle Than Go to Trial For My Automobile Accident Lawsuit?
There are many advantages to settling a lawsuit out of court than going to trial. Some of the benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Working on a settlement between the parties outside of court typically takes less time than going to trial. On average, settlements take three to six months to reach an amicable settlement amount, while a trial may take at least twice the amount of time. Thus, settlement is less stressful and costs less as your attorney would not take as much time to resolve the case than if they go to trial.
- Other than a mediator, a settlement negotiation does not involve other parties outside of the case. More so, no other party, not even the mediator, has to be convinced by either party to take their side. Thus, the settlement negotiation is strictly focused on finding a resolution that would appeal to both parties making it less stressful and contentious to everybody involved.
- You have more autonomy and authority when it comes to the settlement negotiations than when they go to trial in court. After all, it is based on your decision whether to accept, counter, or reject a settlement offer. Whereas if a lawsuit goes to trial, the judge or the jury becomes the authority to determine how much the compensation is. You cannot appeal or reject the number specified in the trial.
Thus, there are solid arguments for parties to engage in settling their automobile accident lawsuit without having to try their case in front of the judge or jury.
However, settlement in an automobile accident is not always the best route. There are also certain instances when going to court is better than further negotiating with the other party. Your lawyer can assist you in determining whether it is best to settle out of court or go to trial based on the circumstances of your case.
Would I Get More If I Settle or Go to Trial For My Automobile Accident Lawsuit?
It varies greatly on the factors of the case.
As with any lawsuit, it is not guaranteed that going to trial or a settlement would render higher returns. Generally, trial by court tends to involve more risks as you do not know how the jury or judge may interpret the evidence or the witnesses. However, this generalization is not absolute, as many other factors may affect the viability of your case. Nonetheless, your lawyer can help assess the risks involved in agreeing to a settlement or to go to trial as the case develops.
Moreover, patience and preparations are essential to possibly getting the maximum settlement value for your automobile accident claim. After all, it is not uncommon for parties to reach an amicable settlement closer to the trial date as lawyers assess the risks of going to trial.
Should I Still Prepare As If I am Going to Trial For My Automobile Accident Case?
Absolutely. Both parties need to be prepared to go to trial even if there is an active negotiation regarding the settlement of the automobile accident lawsuit.
Although an amicable settlement between the parties is the priority for any civil litigation, including automobile accident claims, it is essential for parties to prepare for a possible trial. This is to avoid any unnecessary loss of time if a settlement is not reached. Moreover, during the trial preparation, lawyers can assess the development of their case and claims.
As noted above, it is also not unheard of that a higher value of a settlement amount can be reached closer to the trial than during the initial negotiations. This is because lawyers for both parties can better assess the evidence, arguments, or any legal factor that may affect their analysis of the odds of their case.
However, it is imperative to note that if your automobile accident lawsuit goes to trial, any information provided and discussed during the negotiations is not admissible and cannot be used as leverage against the other party.
If you or your loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, you need reliable legal representation to fight for your rights. Our highly experienced personal injury lawyers are prepared to guide and help you in your case. Please call us at (225) 963-9638, or you can click here to contact us about a free consultation. Our dependable personal injury lawyers can help you assess your case, represent your claim, and answer any concerns you may have regarding your rights or claims in an automobile accident.