After a car accident, things can be difficult to handle. If you've ended up injured as a result of another driver's careless actions, you may be entitled to monetary damages. One confusing aspect of an accident claim, though, is the various ways to be paid those money damages. Since some courts restrict the compensation allowed, that leaves two choices. Read on to find out the differences and the details about two of the most common ways to be get paid: the settlement and the court case.
Personal Injury Settlements
Many personal injury suits settle rather than going through the court process. Make no mistake about it, however; a settlement is a legally-binding agreement and care must be used when agreeing to settle. In short, a settlement is an agreement between you and the other driver (or their insurer) to drop the case and take no further action. In return, the insurer agrees to pay you a certain sum of money. Settlements can happen at any time, even after a court case has begun, and they may be one way to end an accident claim in a matter of weeks after an accident. Here are a few more things to understand about personal injury settlements:
- You only get a single settlement agreement per accident, and once you sign the agreement, you cannot change your mind. That's why it's so important to get legal help from a lawyer before you agree to a settlement.
- If you agree to a settlement too soon, you might miss out on future medical funding. Be sure your injuries are at a point where future needs, if any, can be calculated and included in the settlement.
- Many accident victims appreciate how stress-free this manner of getting paid can be. You simply contact a personal injury lawyer and let them do the negotiating for you.
Taking Your Case to Court
When you fail to come to an agreement on a settlement, you have the option of taking your case to court. That means filing suit against the at-fault driver and their insurers. Filing a suit begins with the serving of the complaint and then proceeds to pretrial actions like discovery. Here's what else to know about suing the other driver:
- You may get more money from filing suit than you would with a settlement if the driver has financial assets that can be used to pay you. Lawsuits give you the power to freeze bank accounts and place liens on real estate and other assets pending the judgment.
- Lawsuits can take a long time to complete, and they can be somewhat stressful for accident victims.
To learn more about the above choices, speak to an auto accident lawyer.