What is the difference between a settlement and a trial?
There are two ways your car accident case can be resolved. One way is a settlement. That means you and the insurance company reach an agreement on what is a fair amount of compensation for what has happened to you; for your medical bills, for your lost wages, foryour pain and suffering, for your future injuries. If that insurance company and you can cometo an agreement on what is a fair amount of money for those damages and for that claim, thecase can be resolved by settlement. At a settlement, the insurance company is going toexpect and, in fact, will demand, that you sign a document called a release in which you waveand forfeit any future right to recovery. A case can be settled really at any phase of the claim.It can be settled before a lawsuit is brought, it can be settled after a lawsuit is brought, and theclaim is being processed. I’ve seen cases settle on the courthouse steps right before a trial isgoing to start. I’ve had a case that we settled after opening arguments, so a case can besettled really at any phase. If an agreement cannot be reached with the insurance company asto what’s fair and reasonable, the only other way to resolve your case is through a trial. Andthat’s where the information about your damages, your medical bills, what’s happened to you,how this has affected you going forward, how it’s affected you in the past, that’s presented tothe trier of fact. The trier of fact could be a judge or it could be a jury. The judge or jury willlisten to the evidence from both sides. Your side and what the other side claims. And that trierof fact will determine what is a fair and reasonable amount of compensation for you. So that’sthe two ways a claim can be resolved—either by settlement or through a court process.