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Bus Accident Settlements vs. Litigation: Pros and Cons in Southfield, MI

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What Factors Should You Consider When Deciding Whether or Not to Settle a Case?

Almost 6,000 buses and large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in 2021, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and many more were in accidents involving serious injuries. These types of personal injury cases can be complex.

Often, when dealing with the aftermath of a truck or bus accident, numerous parties are involved. You may need to consider who to name in any claim or lawsuit you make in such a case, as you might need to include drivers and their insurance companies as well as the businesses that own and/or manage the vehicles and their insurance companies.

These insurance companies might also offer you a settlement fairly early on in the case. However, you might want to talk to a personal injury attorney about your options and what type of compensation you may be able to seek before you sign any settlement paperwork or accept any type of payment from an insurance company. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand the benefits and disadvantages of each course of action so you can make the best possible decision in your case.

What Is a Settlement?

A settlement occurs when you agree to resolve a legal dispute outside of court. In personal injury cases, this typically involves one or more parties agreeing to a settlement offer. Compensation is provided and the individual receiving it agrees not to pursue the matter any further. Typically, these agreements are legally binding, so by accepting a settlement, you may give up your right to seek further compensation in the future.

Potential Benefits of a Bus Accident Settlement

Speed is one of the major benefits of a settlement. Court proceedings can take a lot of time. You may have to wait until the matter can be scheduled with the court, and complex cases can drag out. By taking a settlement, you can get faster access to compensation you may need to cover bills or medical expenses after an accident.

Depending on the nature of the case, a settlement can also be more cost-effective than litigation. Trials tend to increase legal costs because they take more attorney time and involve additional fees, such as the cost of hiring expert witnesses.

Settlements also offer an option for privacy that court cases don’t. Court proceedings are usually a matter of public record. If you want to keep the details of your case and compensation more confidential, you can do that within the contract of a settlement agreement.

Finally, a settlement ensures you get some type of compensation. If you take a matter to court, whether or not you end up with any compensation depends on the ruling of the court or the decision of a jury. There are no guarantees.

Possible Downsides to a Settlement

Settlements are not the best option for every case, though, and they do have some potential downsides. One of those downsides is that the compensation offered through a settlement may be less than you might be able to get in court. In some cases, settlement offers can be substantially less than a potential court award because the insurance company hopes to save money by offering you a quick payout.

Another common downside of a settlement is that it’s not public enough. Not everyone in a personal injury situation wants to keep the matter private. In cases where you believe an egregious error or serious negligence caused your injury, you may want to push for a public acknowledgment of those facts. In rare cases, something like a public apology or admitting to wrongdoing might be part of a settlement agreement. However, it’s generally more likely that you’ll get this type of public acknowledgment if you win a court case.

Depending on your case and your own personal goals and feelings about it, court may offer you more emotional closure than a settlement. For some people, the metaphorical bang of the gavel closing a court case can seem more final and satisfactory than the receipt of a check after settlement negotiations. Again, however, there is no guarantee that you’ll get a satisfactory outcome if you litigate a bus accident case.

How Do You Decide Whether You Should Settle or Litigate a Personal Injury Case?

Choosing between a settlement and pushing forward with a lawsuit can be difficult, especially if an insurance company or other party has already presented you with a seemingly substantial settlement offer. Making such a decision requires considering a variety of factors, including:

  • How likely are you to win a court case in the matter?
  • How much more might the award be if you do, and is the difference worth any risk that you might lose the case?
  • What are your specific goals in the case? They may not all be monetary in nature, and court is a better way to hold someone publicly accountable for their actions.
  • How long might a court case take, and do you have the mental stamina to get through what might be a drawn-out and stressful process?

An experienced personal injury attorney can walk you through the pros and cons of litigating versus settling in your specific bus accident or other personal injury case. If you’re facing these types of decisions or have been injured in an accident and want to find out about your options for seeking compensation, call Sigal Law today at 248-671-6794.

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