If you negotiate and settle your auto accident case without filing a lawsuit, then that is the settlement value of your case. If you get your compensation after litigation, then that is the trial value of your case. In most cases, the settlement value is much lower than the trial value. Below are some of the major reasons for the discrepancy.
Risk of Losing
If the defendant offers you $100,000 to settle a case, you are sure of getting the money if you accept the offer. If you elect to go to court, you cannot be sure of getting even a dollar for your troubles. Here are some of the factors that determine the outcome of litigation:
- The strength of your evidence
- The strength of the defense
- The credibility of your witnesses
- The obviousness of your injuries
According to some statistics, about 61% of car accident cases that end in court are successful. The statistics mean you have a 39% chance of losing your auto accident case if you litigate it. As such, the settlement value (a sure thing) cannot be the same as a trial value (uncertain thing).
An auto accident case is a form of a personal injury case. If you settle your personal injury case, you will spend considerably less than you would if you litigated it. Below are some of the costs that increase if you opt for a lawsuit:
- Legal costs
- Expert witness fees
- Court filing fees
- Administrative costs
Auto insurance companies know about the cost differences between cases that settle and those that go to trial. Thus, the insurance company will offer you a settlement value since they know you won't be incurring some of the above costs.
According to hg.org, you can get your auto accident compensation in a few months if you reach an out-of-court settlement. Litigation, on the other hand, can take as long as a few years. Liability issues, defendant appeals, court loads, and the nature of the injuries determine the timeline of the case.
Many people don't want to wait a long time to get their hands on their settlement checks, and insurance companies know this. You can either take a little money now or wait a year or more for more money.
Just because the trial value exceeds the settlement money, doesn't mean that you should always litigate your case. You need to weigh the pros and cons of each route before making an informed decision.
For more information, reach out to an auto accidents lawyer in your area.