If you have been in a car accident and have sustained injuries, then you know all too well that an injury can be expensive. You may have mounting medical bills, reduced income as a result of not being able to work, as well as bills to repair your car. While it is true that one of the most effective ways of ensuring your injuries and damages are paid for by the responsible party, however, this does not always mean that you need a long and drawn out trial. In reality, most claims are settled out of court through settlement agreements, and while some people think that this admits “defeat” this is not entirely accurate. Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys explain.
What is a Settlement and What are the Advantages?
When you have suffered an injury and decide that you need to bring the case to the court system you do so by filing a complaint. This means that you have formally announced that to the courts and to the other party that you have been injured as a result of their negligence and are seeking compensation to relieve your injuries whether they be property damage, medical bills, lost time at work, or even the loss of a loved one. The complaint will begin the legal process that may eventually culminate in a trial and a verdict.
However, most cases that are filed do not ultimately go to trial. While you may be confused about this, there are many reasons why a case may not go to trial. The focus in this blog post and one of the biggest reasons why a case does not go to trial is because the parties have entered a settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is when the parties look at the amount of damages that a person has sustained and one or both parties make a request of the other party for a specific amount in exchange for withdrawing or perhaps even not filing a civil lawsuit against the other party. Most people who have been injured in an accident will begin their settlement negotiations through the use of a demand letter, wherein they will make an outline of all of their out-of-pocket expenses and requests a certain amount of compensation.
Reaching a settlement agreement can be very advantageous to both sides. For the person who has been injured, they are likely to receive compensation much faster than if they were to wait for the court to hear and decide the case. While the attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm make every effort to encourage the courts to hear cases that we have filed with them, the court system can be slow and rather cumbersome at times. In addition, the other party may choose to wait as long as possible to respond to complaints, requests for discovery, scheduling depositions, and may even file extension requests – all of which can extend the length of time between a person’s injury and the time they receive a payment.
A settlement agreement may also be advantageous to the defendant in a case as well. If a case goes to trial there is a good chance that they will have to pay a larger amount of money than what is being offered in a settlement agreement. This is because not only can a trial decide to give an injured plaintiff more money due to punitive damages, but by the time a trial date is set both parties have most likely spent a considerable amount of money in attorney and court fees all of which can be granted to the winning side.
If you File a Lawsuit Can you Still Settle in Pennsylvania?
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that the case has to go to trial. In fact, most cases that are filed do not go all the way to trial. Rather, most cases that are filed are settled out of court, even at times right in the hallway before trial. In some cases, a court filing will cause the defendant’s insurance company to increase their offer to settle the case. This is often because they do not want to risk the case going to trial and the case rendering a verdict for a larger amount of money. If you have already filed a lawsuit you can choose at any time up until the court renders a verdict to settle your case.
Contact an Experienced Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced attorneys today. f you have been involved in a life-altering car crash that inflicted catastrophic injuries, the Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free consultation, call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online.