Settling vs. Going to Trial: What to Consider in Florida Car Accident Lawsuits

The overwhelming majority of car accident lawsuits in Florida conclude with settlements. According to a report published by the US Department of Justice, a mere 4% to 5% of personal injury cases proceed to a full trial, and the remaining 95% or more cases are settled through negotiations with the insurance company or the defendants.

When you are involved in a car accident in Florida, one of the most critical decisions you will face is whether to settle your case or take it to trial. Let us explore the key factors to consider when deciding between settling and going to trial in Florida car accident lawsuits.

Liability and Evidence

Before making any decisions, you must assess the strength of your case. Liability and evidence play a pivotal role in this assessment. If there is clear evidence establishing the other driver’s fault in the accident, it may be more likely that the insurance company will offer a fair settlement. On the other hand, if liability is disputed, taking your case to trial might be necessary to prove fault and secure compensation.

Insurance Coverage

Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that your own insurance typically covers your initial medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who is at fault. Based on this, if your injuries are severe or exceed the limits of your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you may need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance. Knowing the limits and coverage available can influence your decision to settle or go to trial.

Medical Expenses and Future Costs

Consider the extent of your injuries and the associated medical expenses. Settlements often include compensation for past and future medical costs. If your injuries are severe and require ongoing treatment or if you’re facing long-term disabilities, a trial may be necessary to ensure you receive adequate compensation for these future expenses.

Time and Stress

Settling a car accident case is generally faster and less stressful than going to trial. Trials can be lengthy and emotionally draining. If you are looking for a quicker resolution to your case and want to avoid the stress of a trial, settling may be the better option.

Potential Damages

When you settle a case, you have more control over the outcome, and you know exactly how much compensation you’ll receive. In a trial, the outcome is uncertain, and the judge or jury will determine the damages awarded. If you’re comfortable with a known amount and want to avoid the risk of receiving a smaller award at trial, settling may be preferable.

Statute of Limitations

Under the new tort reform law in Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases has been reduced to just two years from the date of the incident or injury. This means that an individual who wishes to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida must do so within two years from the date the injury occurred. If the statute of limitations is approaching, you may need to make a decision to settle or prepare for trial sooner rather than later.

Get Legal Advice from an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Deciding whether to settle or go to trial in a Florida car accident lawsuit is a complex and highly individualized choice. It requires a thorough assessment of the specific circumstances surrounding your case. An experienced attorney like Robert W. Rust, Esq. of Rust Injury Law can help you make this decision. He can assess the strength of your case, negotiate with insurance companies, and provide expert guidance on whether to settle or go to trial. Call us at 305-200-8856 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.