When you are involved in a car accident, the best possible outcome is for you to receive a settlement out of court for what your claim is worth. Then, your case will be resolved much more quickly and less expensively. Unfortunately, many auto accident cases aren't as smooth, and there are some that may need to go to court.
When Cases Are Settled
Your car accident case is settled when both you and the other party, whether it be the insurance provider of the other driver or the driver himself, negotiate a settlement amount. Most insurance providers are willing to settle because it is cheaper than it is to take the case to court.
When Cases Aren't Settled
Unfortunately, some auto insurance providers will make settlement offers that are far too low. You may not only have expensive medical bills, but your injuries might be the type where you are likely to have many more expensive medical bills in the future. If you accept a low settlement, you may be forced to pay for your medical bills yourself. Your auto accident attorney will try to negotiate with the insurance provider for a higher settlement.
One reason why the insurance provider might make a lower settlement offer is that they believe you are partially at fault for the accident. With a comparative fault state, you will only be entitled to compensation if the other driver is more than 50% at fault for the accident. Also, if the other driver is considered 75% at fault, for example, you may only be entitled to compensation for half of your expenses. However, if your attorney believes they can convince a jury that you were not at fault, you may receive a substantially higher amount if you take your case to court.
Bad Faith Tactics
Some insurance providers negotiate in bad faith. For example, the insurance provider might attempt to delay your payment with the hope that you will be so desperate to receive money to pay for the medical bills that you'll be willing to accept any offer. If the case continues to be delayed, ask your attorney about whether you should take your case to court.
When your case is taken to court, there are some cases where you might benefit further than if you had settled. For example, if the actions of the driver were egregious, you may be entitled to punitive damages.