When you end up hurt by a careless driver, you may be entitled to money damages. How much you receive depends on several factors so read on to find out more.
Settlements and Judgments Are Different
You might have heard about the two ways to be paid money damages after a car accident. A settlement is paid without having to take a case to court and can happen right after the accident. Court judgments, on the other hand, can take more time to process and may result in less, or more, money. If you cannot settle your case, a trial may be the next best thing. The money you receive can be different than that of a settlement, so read on to find out how and why that happens.
Court Cases Cost More
When paid by a settlement, you might have to use some of the funds to pay your lawyer. Contingency fee agreements are an excellent way to deal with personal injury cases. When you take a case to court, not only will you be dealing with a contingency fee arrangement on your winnings, but you may need to pay more for those legal services. Pay attention to your contingency arrangement and take any extra costs into consideration when considering settlements. It might be better to accept a settlement rather than spend more more money on legal fees and court fees.
Court Cases May Award More
On the other hand, you may end up with a higher amount from a court judgment than you would have with a settlement. It depends on specific factors about your case and damages. For example, if you and the other driver both claim the other is at-fault, you might end up winning the case if you show enough convincing evidence. In addition, if you not only prove your case but also demonstrate that the other driver was grossly negligent, you might be entitled to be awarded punitive damages. For instance, the judge might decide to set an example of the other driver who was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the wreck and award a million dollars to you in punitive damages.
Court Judges Have Powers
You are limited to what the other driver's insurance policy covers for a settlement. In court, however, you can have the other driver's assets frozen and then awarded to you if you win your case. Wages can be garnished, homes sold, and bank accounts seized along with the limits of the policy if you take your case to court.
As you can see, there are both positive and negative aspects of a court judgment. Speak to a personal injury lawyer from a firm like The Lombardo Law Firm to find out what your best course of action may be for your case.