Like other personal injury settlements, car accident settlements are not public record. However, this only applies when you settle out of court.
In-Court Awards Are Public Record
If you do go to court, the result will be public record. The only instance in which your car accident verdict will not be public record is if the judge seals the records of your case. However, this is unlikely in personal injury cases.
Because many personal injury claims do not go to court, your car accident claim will most likely not be public record.
Benefits of Settling Car Accidents Out of Court
Above and beyond keeping your case private, settling out of court is often the best course of action for your car accident claim for a variety of reasons. This is particularly true if the other driver is clearly at fault and the insurance company agrees to meet your or your lawyer’s demands.
Typical benefits of settling out of court include the following:
Trials Are Often Quite Long
Personal injury trials can take several months or even years to complete. And that is not considering the possibility that there may be an appeal. Settling out of court often ends the matter quickly and allows you to collect compensation faster.
You Will Be Responsible for Court Fees And Any Additional Fees
If your personal injury claim goes to court, you will also be responsible for paying court fees. This cost would come out of your compensation package when the trial concludes.
In addition to court fees, settling out of court saves in other ways. While you will need to pay attorney’s fees regardless of whether you settle or go to court, the attorney’s fees may be more if you need to go to trial. There may also be travel involved as well as the cost of bringing expert witnesses to strengthen your case.
Depending on the size of the award you receive, this may be a hefty chunk of the money you have been waiting for.
The Benefit of Settling Out Of Court For Defendants
You are not the only person who potentially benefits from settling out of court. Defendants stand to benefit from settlements as well. The primary reason for this is that a trial is often quite expensive. If a defendant must go to court and then loses their case, they will need to pay for your accident damages and attorney’s fees. In some cases, they need to pay your attorney’s fees as well.
And depending on the case, the judge or jury may award much more than the defendant was planning on settling for.
Benefits of Taking a Car Accident Case to Court
While settling out of court is more common, it is not always the best course of action. If you and your attorney trust that you have a very strong case, you may be willing to incur the additional costs of a trial in hopes of collecting as much of a compensation package possible.
The primary reasons you might want to go to court include:
The Defendant Undervalues Your Damages
In many instances, the defendant may admit fault but significantly undervalue your damages. This results in an offer much smaller than you deserve. If the defendant refuses to negotiate with you, a lawsuit may be your best course of action.
Seeking Additional Damages
If your car accident was particularly serious, you may be able to seek damages above and beyond medical expenses and lost wages. While a settlement offer may include damages for pain and suffering and other noneconomic damages, it might not be all that you deserve. If you and your attorney can build a strong case showing how your accident affected you physically and emotionally, you may have a convincing case for additional damages.
Call an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
When you work with a car accident attorney for your car accident claim, they will discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of settling a claim or taking your case to trial.
While we try to settle out of court as this is often the best option for you, we will not hesitate to take your case to court. We prepare your case for court from day one to ensure that we are ready to switch gears immediately if necessary.
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a car accident, reach out to an injury attorney at S. Burke Law. We will walk you through the details in hopes of getting the best settlement possible. Call us at 404-842-7838.