Should I Settle My Car Accident Case or Go to Court?

May 10, 2023
West Chester Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Injured Accident Plaintiffs Reach the Best Possible Outcome.

You may face many questions when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, especially if you were injured by the actions of another driver. From where to get your car repaired to how long your injuries will last, suffering a car accident injury is a stressful experience. One major question you need answered is how you should seek compensation for your losses. In Pennsylvania, you have options, but the one you choose largely depends on several factors.

In some car accident scenarios, you will need to decide between settling your car accident claim or taking your case to court. Each process has their pros and cons.

Reaching a Settlement

Settling your car accident claim is when a resolution is reached by both parties before it goes to trial. You can reach a settlement even before the lawsuit is filed or at any point during the litigation process. You can even reach a settlement as late as the day before the trial. If the lawsuit is filed, most settlements occur during the trial’s discovery phase, where each party gathers evidence and information of the case.

Although the settlement process varies with each case, most begin with your car accident lawyer sending a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company. This letter will contain information such as the legal reasoning behind the demand, the damages you look to be compensated for, and evidence to support your claim.

Once a response to the demand letter is received and reviewed by your attorney, they would then send a response back as well as a counteroffer. A settlement is reached when both parties reach an agreement.

The pros of a settlement include:

  • Settlements generally take three to six months to complete, which is generally quicker than a trial.
  • You have the ability to accept or reject a counteroffer, which you do not have in a trial.
  • Settlements are not as expensive or time-consuming as a trial.

The cons of a settlement include:

  • There is a chance you would receive less money in a settlement than you would by going to court.
  • Settlements are permanent and cannot be renegotiated when formally signed, even if your injury worsens.

Going to Court   

During a trial, both parties are given the opportunity to argue their cases to a judge and jury. Trials can be stressful and can take over a year to resolve. The pros of a trial are:

  • It is possible that you can receive more compensation in a trial than you would in a settlement.
  • Winning a trial holds the defendant accountable for their actions, giving you a sense of justice.

The cons of going to court include:

  • Trials take much longer to reach a conclusion than a settlement, sometimes taking over a year.
  • The defendant can choose to appeal the decision after a verdict has been reached.
  • You leave the decision up to the judge and jury, and you must accept it even if the verdict seems unfair.

Most car accident claims end in settlement because it is generally the better option. After an injury, your time will mostly be spent on recovery, so accepting a settlement will get you your money quicker. However, every claim is different and can be complex. An attorney will review your case and help you make the best decision that fits your situation.

West Chester Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Injured Accident Plaintiffs Reach the Best Possible Outcome

Our West Chester car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can review your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. From our offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.