Should You Take Your Car Accident Claim to Trial or Accept a Settlement?

Car accident lawyers in Panama City are usually more knowledgeable than their clients about whether to settle a claim or take the matter to trial. That said, it is the victim who gets to make the final decision regarding this matter. A car accident lawyer should give you all the information and his or her opinion, but no attorney can make the decision for you.

Assess the Risk with Your Lawyer

In determining how to proceed, you need to consider various aspects of the case. The first, of course, is what kind of risk is involved in going to trial rather than settling. Simply filing a suit will rarely put you at risk for losing an offer, although the insurance company may try to make you think otherwise. Even though the risk is low, it is still there, however.

When the case actually goes to trial, though, the risk grows. It becomes important for the victim and the Panama City car accident lawyer to look at the statistical likelihood of winning in court. Even that may not be enough to sway your decision, as it has to be balanced against any “for sure” offer that’s on the table. For example, are you willing to give up a “for sure” settlement of $250,000 for a 75% chance of being awarded $1 million at trial? Sure, the payoff could be bigger, but you could also lose the case and end up with absolutely nothing.

Consider the Time Frame

As already mentioned, there are plenty of times when a car accident victim needs funds immediately. Unfortunately, car accident lawyers in Panama City are painfully aware of how slow the judicial system can more. Waiting around for a trial can be an obstacle that some victims just don’t want to deal with. Accepting a quick offer, though, might mean that the injured party doesn’t recoup as much money as they might have by taking the case further.

Is It Worth the Emotional Turmoil?

A trial can be an emotionally draining experience. There are many trips to the car accident lawyer, depositions to be made, and actual days spent in court. Along with this, the victim will likely have to relive one of the worst experiences of their life repeatedly. The very act of getting up to testify is enough to scare plenty of victims into settling their cases without going to trial.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some people find that the emotional turmoil works in the opposite way. They want to take the case to trial in order to see justice served—to get closure. Not all cases tried by a car accident lawyer are about money for the victim. Sometimes it’s about seeing someone held accountable or having the victim’s name cleared.

Whether to accept a settlement or to go to trial is a decision that has to be made by the victim. A good Panama City car accident lawyer will be able to offer advice and insight, but it will be up to you to make the final call.


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