Settlement vs. Lawsuit: Filing a Car Accident Claim

car meter telling check engine

Accidents are inevitable. It can happen to anyone. But when it comes to these, road accident is the most common type. Why? It’s easy to see road incidents affecting drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians in different parts of the world. Not only do these accidents cause personal injuries and vehicle damages, but they can also take away lives.

In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that approximately 1.3 billion deaths happen each year due to road accidents. Also, about 30 million people suffer from non-fatal injuries every year. These facts and figures show that vehicle accidents are rampant worldwide.

Know, however, that you can file an insurance claim to cover your financial loss. If there’s an individual at fault, you must seek compensation from the responsible party. The process usually ends up with either a settlement or a lawsuit. Now, let’s take a look at the difference between the two.

Claim Filing for Car Accidents

There are a handful of ways you can get into a road accident. For one, you’re crossing the street when you get hit by a car. Your vehicle can also get bumped by a motorcycle. Lastly, you may end up in a car crash. That’s why, if you are prone to accidents, you must secure high-risk driver insurance for protection.

Keep in mind that a car collision is the most common type. When this happens, there’s a lot of things to deal with, from reporting the incident to getting yourself medical treatments to filing an insurance claim.

Usually, there is a responsible party in a car collision. If you’re confident that the other party is at fault, you must hold them liable for your personal injury and financial losses. That’s when you need to file an insurance claim for your car accident.

Settlement vs. Lawsuit

Once you have decided to file a car accident claim, you have two routes to take. That said, consider the following:

  • Settlement: It’s best when your accident case gets resolved at the onset. During this process, you consult with a lawyer and draft a demand letter. You send this letter to the responsible party stating your claim and financial expectations. In some cases, negotiation occurs between the two parties. If the other party agrees to pay for what you demand, that’s what settlement is.
  • Lawsuit: On the other hand, it happens when both parties don’t agree. Chances are, the responsible party disputes that total amount you’ve indicated on the claim. If there are disagreements, filing a lawsuit is your next course of action. In this case, you bring this to the court and let them decide.

Reaching a Settlement

Car accident claims typically end in settlement. Many people prefer to settle to take advantage of quick compensation, no attorney’s fees, and no stress and hassle in court proceedings. In this case, you write a demand letter to settle an injury claim before bringing this to court. The letter shows the total amount you demand from the responsible party.

In addition, the letter gives a breakdown of all your financial losses, from medical expenses to vehicle repair costs to job income loss. Included in your demand letter are all pieces of evidence, such as medical records, vehicle repair receipts, and employment copies. In most cases, responsible parties agree to pay for the claim.

Filing a Lawsuit
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Should the responsible party have a dispute, you have no choice but to bring your claim to the court. That’s when you file a formal lawsuit. Before doing so, you have already gone through the processes of attorney consultation, claim investigation, and damages documentation.

After the actual lawsuit filing, expect to undergo trials and litigation. During this phase, both parties will be exchanging pertinent information. Also, both parties will be presenting pieces of evidence to justify their claim. Then, the judge will evaluate the evidence and weigh in the decision. Finally, the judge will come up with a final decision.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you now have a clear understanding of the difference between a settlement and a lawsuit. Be sure to consider the valuable information about the process of filing an insurance claim.

It’s best to work with a reputable lawyer who can guide you every step of the way. As much as possible, strive to reach a settlement. Should there be disagreements, bring the matter to the court by filing a lawsuit.

Ultimately, your goal is to get proper compensation from the responsible party to help you rise above this tragic road accident.