What Are The Benefits Of Settling My Rear-End Collision Claim?
There are two benefits to settling your case. One is the certainty. You know that the case is going to be over and you know what the case settled for. The second benefit is that of “now.” In other words, the case is going to be settled now and it’s going to be over and there is finality and there is a true psychological benefit to having the case over now and having it over knowing that you are going to have a certain recovery for a certain amount. The downside of settling your case is that an insurance company is almost never going to offer to settle your case for full value. The only exception to that is in cases where the insurance company is literally tendering the maximum policy limits of their insurance policy. In other words, they are offering you every dollar of their insurance policy which they’ve issued for their driver.
But in cases where there is $100,000 in insurance and they’ve offered you $20,000 to settle if you take that number to settle, the downside is that were you to go to trial, what you are giving up is essentially the possibility of getting full value at trial. The flipside of that coin is that going to trial is risky and costly. There is no guarantee that you will get more. Going to trial will take a long time – in some cases, years – and when you consider the fact of getting slightly more at trial versus having a certain amount now, that’s the reason why many people will choose to settle.
How Long Do Rear-End Collision Claim Trials Usually Take?
Accident trials don’t generally take that long unless it is a catastrophic injury case. If you have a case where for instance you have a rear-end collision and you got treatment and you got essentially to the point where you are better, then a typical range for trial is three to four days. That’s including perhaps having one or two expert witnesses testify. It will be much longer for a case where we have a catastrophic injury or what we call a life-changing injury where your life before the wreck and your life after the wreck are profoundly different. It’s not just a situation where before the wreck, you were without pain, now after the wreck you’ve got some pain in my shoulder. It’s a situation where before the wreck you were able to walk, after the wreck you are not able to walk. That type of life-changing issue could require a trial that takes to up to two to three weeks.
What Happens At Personal Injury Trials In Rear-End Collision Cases?
At trial, the plaintiff’s job is to prove essentially three things. First, they have to prove that the other person caused the wreck or that the wreck was the other person’s fault. Second, you have to prove what we call causation, which is that the wreck itself caused you an injury of some sort. If I am in a car wreck and before the car wreck I had no back pain but after the car wreck, all of a sudden my back starts hurting, a lot of people would say of course your back is hurting because you’ve been in a car wreck. As a personal injury plaintiff, it’s our duty to prove not only that the car wreck was the cause of the injury but medically why and how that happened. In other words, what was it about the car wreck that caused the back to be injured. That’s called causation.
Third, you have to prove the amount of damages. Damages include the medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and the other things that the at-fault drive took from you. The way that shown is through witnesses.
At trial, the plaintiff’s attorney gives an opening statement which is roughly a 20-minute conversation with a jury after they’ve been selected which explains to them why we are there, who my client is and what we are going to do to establish each of those three things. Basically, why the other side caused the wreck, how the wreck is responsible for the injuries and how those injuries resulted in the damages we are claiming. The other side will get up and explain their side of the story and then we’ll start calling witnesses. Those witnesses will testify under oath and each side will get a chance to ask questions from those witnesses.
Witnesses could be the police officers, the plaintiff, and the defendant. Also, doctors and expert witnesses can testify as to how this type of a wreck usually causes this type of back pain, and how this back pain is consistent with this type of a car wreck to establish causation. Basically, what we are doing is check off all the boxes in establishing our burden of proof. We have to establish that more likely than not, the defendant caused the wreck, caused the injury and caused the damages. Once we’ve established the burden of proof through the witnesses, the defendant may call witnesses of their own and in the end, the plaintiff and the defendant will have a final conversation with the jury where we get to explain to them how we’ve proven our case and the defense will have an opportunity to explain to them how we didn’t.
We also explain to them what the value of the case is. The judge will explain to them the law and when all that is done, the jury gets an opportunity to go in the back and talk about the case and render a verdict. Once they get back in the courtroom, they render that verdict and that is the decision in this case.
For more information on Benefits Of Settling A Rear-End Collision Claim, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (770) 345-7624 today.