Being in a serious motorcycle accident comes with many issues. You have hospital bills, continuing therapy bills, costs for medication and bandages, lost wages, etc. What should you do? Should you file a legal lawsuit or do you file a claim and try to negotiate a settlement?
Difference between a Claim and a Lawsuit
A personal injury claim is between you and the other party’s insurance company. The claims process usually involves a series of negotiations between you and the claims adjuster. If you decide to hire a Hyannis motorcycle crash attorney, the negotiations will be between the claims adjuster and your attorney. The negotiations are meant to help you and the claims adjuster come to an agreement as to how much your case is worth.
A personal injury lawsuit on the other hand is filed when the settlement process is not successful. Claims don’t succeed because a compromise can’t be reached. Most of the time, it’s usually due to the claims adjuster insisting their insured wasn’t at fault or refusing to pay the compensation amount you are demanding.
Benefits of Settling out of Court
There are several reasons why your Hyannis motorcycle crash attorney might want to settle your case out of court. First, they might feel like the settlement is a fair deal and going to trial will not produce a better result. There is a possibility that if you go to trial you might get a higher compensation amount but your attorney might not want to gamble on the hope of a favorable outcome.
Second, an attorney might pressure you to settle because they just want to be paid. This is very common with attorneys who run or work in settlement mills. In such a situation, they typically do not care if you get fair compensation or not.
The good news is that most attorneys push for a settlement out of genuine belief that it’s a fair one as opposed to being motivated by personal interest.
Benefits of Settling a Case
No Guilty Verdict
In a trial, there’s usually a “guilty” or “not guilty” verdict but when you settle, there is no record of a guilty verdict. This might be very important if you do not want a record of guilt.
There’s usually more flexibility in discussions during negotiations but during trial, you have to follow a strict guideline regarding what you can say. You can even ask for an apology during the settlement process but in court that wouldn’t be possible.
Once you settle out of court, you can be sure that the other party won’t appeal or try to overturn the verdict. But in a court, you can appeal a court’s decision.
The settlement process doesn’t drag as much a trial process can. A trial case can last up to three years and sometimes even longer if one of you decides to appeal.
Juries are not predictable which could work to your disadvantage. A settlement is more predictable than relying on the jury’s decision.
All the details of your case can be kept private if you decide to settle. If you decide to go to trial, you should expect all the court documents to become public record and anyone can review them whenever they want. Most settlement agreements have confidentiality clauses so the case won’t go public.
Trials can create a lot of stress making it hard for some people to go through with the process. They fear cross-examination and telling their story in court. The settlement process does not come with some of the stress that trials do.
Trials are very expensive because they involve extensive depositions, expert witnesses, attorney fees, time and travel. If you settle your case before trial, you can avoid most of the costs associated with the litigation process.
Benefits of Going to Trial
When the defendant refuses to admit they are responsible for your crash, you can go to trial and establish liability.
Sometimes insurance companies may argue that the actions of their client were not the primary cause of your injuries. Going to trial will establish that even though you have a pre-existing condition or injury, the actions of the defendant aggravated the condition or caused your current injuries.
Cases involving causation or liability are usually hard to settle especially if the damages are large. You might not afford to take a low settlement offer due to medical bills and lost wages. And you might not be willing to take the low offer knowing fully well you stand a chance to be paid a lot more.
Injuries Serious Enough to Merit a Trial
Threshold injuries are very serious injuries. Your injuries must have caused significant damage in order to fall into this category. If your motorcycle crash fails to meet this threshold, your case could be dismissed although various states define threshold injuries differently. There are, however, some that are common to all and they include:
- Significant limitation or loss of a major body organ
- Scarring or significant disfigurement
- Temporary disability
Always be Reasonable
The choice as to whether you should settle or go to trial obviously depends on a number of variables that your Hyannis motorcycle crash attorney should be able to discuss with you.
It’s not uncommon to have clients experiencing buyer remorse. For instance, they may settle their case and later curse not having had “their day in court”. What they do not factor in is the stress and uncertainty that comes with the trial process. While some wish that they had settled the case having recovered nothing from their lawsuit.
Trial should be reserved for those times when the defendant is completely unreasonable in evaluating your damages.
The good news is that most parties to lawsuits will act reasonably when evaluating their odds of success at trial and the amount of damages. This is why most personal injury cases settle. As long as you are reasonable, you shouldn’t experience buyer’s remorse whether you go to trial o you settle.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash in Hyannis and you want to know what your options are, you can contact one of our Hyannis motorcycle crash attorneys by dialing 508-775-1660. You can also visit our Kevin P Landry law offices in Hyannis or we can come to you on request.