Injury Lawsuit vs. Insurance Claim: What Is Your Best Option?
Just about all drivers will become involved in at least one motor vehicle accident during their driving careers that can extend over many decades. Even minor fender-benders can be a hassle while drivers await auto repairs. The inconvenience increases substantially when injuries are involved.
An insurance claim is the quickest way to obtain compensation for damages caused by a minor accident. However, an experienced Charlotte personal injury lawyer can advise injury victims if additional legal action is needed to pursue full and fair compensation.
Severe Auto Accident Injury Expenses Mount Quickly
When at-fault drivers carry the basic auto liability insurance required by North Carolina, their policies are subject to maximums. Their coverage includes up to $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person per accident, up to a total of $60,000 total per accident. Property damage liability is covered at up to $25,000 per accident.
To most people, these sound like generous allowances until they look at the average data from the National Safety Council. Based on 2012 data, a property damage crash with non-disabling injuries costs $8,900. However, a nonfatal disabling injury costs $78,900, and a fatality costs around $1.4 million. Of course, current prices are likely to be significantly higher.
Any type of severe injury includes many direct costs, such as:
- Medical care and other related expenses, possibly over long periods of time
- In-home nursing costs
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- The cost of hiring someone to assist with basic needs during recovery
Even moderate to severe injuries can quickly send expenses soaring above insurance maximums. An insurance claim can leave victims facing potentially unaffordable out-of-pocket expenses.
Filing a Lawsuit Seldom Means Going to Trial
To injury victims, going to court can seem extremely stressful — almost like an extension of their original injuries. Most victims would take great comfort if they knew that about 95 to 96 percent of cases settle before the trial begins.
Keep in mind that skilled personal injury attorneys only recommend filing a lawsuit when they strongly believe cases have enough merit to benefit accident victims in court. Of course, opposing attorneys recognize valid cases as well. To avoid unnecessary time and legal costs, they generally make an offer before even walking into a courtroom. Through a series of negotiations, attorneys on both sides typically arrive at a fair settlement. The victim’s involvement is generally limited to accepting or rejecting an offer.
Even in Court Cases, Injury Lawyers Protect Their Clients From Undue Stress
The cases that make it to trial often involve serious injuries. In some situations, the expenses are so costly that attorneys cannot reach a settlement agreement, but sometimes the personal injury lawyers recognize that their clients are likely to obtain the fullest compensation by leaving the decision in the hands of generous juries.
When a case must go to court, victims face more complex legal procedures. However, their attorneys take all necessary action to reduce stress levels. Our lawyers carefully prepare clients to make sure they know what to expect during every step of the process.
The first step is to determine if any type of legal action is actually necessary. For an honest assessment of all available legal options, call us at 800-948-0577, or use our convenient online contact form.