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Should I resolve my accident claim through a settlement?

When most Americans think of the word lawsuit, the thought of a trial with a judge and jury immediately comes to mind. In reality, many claims that arise from New York car accidents or other injuries do not ever reach the civil court trial stage. Claims that don't make it to trial typically end up resolved through injury settlement.

When a settlement occurs, the person filing the lawsuit agrees to give up the right to pursue further legal action relating to their accident or injury. In return, the defendant or insurance company will pay them an agreed-upon sum of money. Before taking a settlement offer, there are many different things to consider. An attorney can help assess your case and discuss the likelihood of settlement.

You will first need to consider the strength of your case. That means looking at jury verdicts and settlements for car accident cases similar to yours as well as your chances of winning at trial. You will also need to consider the strengths and weaknesses in both your evidence and your opponent's.

Next, you will need to consider the damages you are hoping to recover. Your attorney can give you their estimation on how much you could be awarded in damages if the case goes to trial. You will also need to determine the minimum amount of money you will accept to settle the case and avoid trial. You will also need to consider the defendant's insurance policy coverage and their financial status. In some cases, a partial settlement is a good option. In those situations, you will settle the easier issues first and continue to work on the more challenging ones.

You should keep in mind that civil court trials are typically open to the public and can result in media coverage. Personal information revealed at trial will also be out in the open. It can also take a while for a case to be called to trial, and the trial itself may take longer than originally anticipated. Before you decide whether to settle, you should consider all the factors and do what is best for you.

Source: FindLaw, "Resolution Before Trial: Settlement," accessed on May 23, 2016

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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