Should I Settle My Kentucky Car Accident Claim Out of Court?

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Like almost any other decision, the decision of whether to settle your car accident claim or go to court over it should be based on the details of your particular case. Most people, however, would be better off if their cases were settled out of court, at least if they are represented by an experienced Lexington car accident lawyer. Nationwide, about 95 percent of personal injury claims are resolved out of court.

The Benefits of a Private Settlement

Following are some of the major reasons why settlement is generally better than a trial:
Settlement is generally cheaper, especially for the defendant. This fact alone makes most defendants willing to settle their cases rather than go to court.

  • Trials can be stressful, even if you do not testify. This is the last thing you need while you are trying to recover from a serious injury.
  • Trials are unpredictable – you never know what a jury might decide, or how much money they will award.
  • Trials take a lot more time than settlements do, especially if an appeal is involved. In a worst-case scenario, it could take years to get your money.

The Relationship Between Settlements and Lawsuits

All bargaining takes place in the shadow of the law, or so it is said. Your bargaining strength in settlement negotiations will be proportional to your likelihood of success in court, as long as the other side (likely an insurance company) knows that you realize the strength of your position, and as long as they know that you are willing and able to initiate and maintain a courtroom lawsuit. If you can show that you would likely win in court, the other side will probably agree to settle with you.

The One-Year Deadline

In most cases, you will have only one year after the accident to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim dies from the accident, the personal representative of the victim’s estate will have one year from the death of the victim to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If this deadline passes without you either entering into a settlement agreement or filing a lawsuit complaint, your claim will almost certainly be barred. If this happens, you won’t even be able to negotiate a settlement.

The Settlement Agreement

A settlement agreement should be drafted carefully to make sure it is enforceable against the defendant. You might also need to tweak certain provisions to avoid negative tax consequences (personal injury awards are generally non-taxable, however). You will almost certainly need a lawyer to draft a settlement agreement, or to review it carefully if the other side drafts it.

Don’t Let Them Play Games with You

Negotiating with an insurance company or a corporate defendant can be an uphill battle, especially if you are not intimately familiar with the legal issues involves or are unclear about the true value of your claim. Let us do the negotiating for you!

Contact Glenn Martin Hammond Law Office, PLLC today by calling (866) 448-7777, or by contacting us online, for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Lexington including Clays Mill Road, Winburn and Zandale, among other neighborhoods.

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