Injured in Traffic: to Settle or to Sue?

Getting a driver’s license is like a rite of passage in modern society, so the number of drivers and vehicles on the road is growing by the day. Unfortunately, not all drivers exercise the same amount of caution behind the wheel. Thus, traffic accidents are a common occurrence. Although self-driving cars can drastically reduce the risks of traffic accidents, we are not there yet. If you’ve been injured in traffic because of a distracted, drunk, or negligent driver, it’s normal to seek justice. But if you don’t have legal experience or above-average negotiation skills, it can be difficult to protect your rights. 

When presented with the option to settle or take the case to court, how to know which option will bring you the most favorable outcome? Read on to learn more. 

Don’t Rush It  

The most important thing to remember is that you should never rush to accept a settlement offer. You may feel a lot of pressure from the insurance company to settle quickly and close the case. An early settlement may seem convenient at first, but it can have major downsides for the victim. An injury from a traffic accident can lead to severe long-term complications. If you settle too early, you will not be able to ask for more money, even with your medical bills continuing to pile up. Thus, in most cases, a rushed settlement is disadvantageous for the victim but advantageous for the party at fault. 

Get Legal Advice  

The ‘settle or sue’ dilemma would not be an issue if insurance companies offered fair payouts. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The insurance company usually tries to pay the minimum legal amount. To protect your interests, you have to consult a lawyer who can tell you exactly what constitutes fair compensation in your case. If the insurance provider doesn’t accept your lawyer’s offer and refuses to negotiate, your only option is to file a lawsuit.  

Drunk Driver? 

If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident caused by a drunk driver, there are several critical aspects to consider. In this situation, the driver may be accused of driving under the influence, which is a serious offense that can lead to arrest. Moreover, the driver can also face additional criminal charges for bodily harm. If you expect the driver to be found guilty of driving under the influence, wait for the criminal case to close before negotiating your settlement. Drunk driving cases involve both the criminal and the civil court, so it’s best to seek a lawyer with experience in representing victims of drunk driving accidents. A good lawyer can help you determine whether you should settle or sue. 

In most cases, settling is a better option than going to trial. Settling out of court is a quicker process. If you have financial concerns, collecting damages as fast as possible can be helpful. Moreover, a trial is usually expensive and time-consuming. No matter what you choose, you should not make this decision alone. Always consult an attorney who can review your case objectively. Only an attorney can inform you of all the damages you can rightfully collect. 

Will Hopstetter
Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.