Settlement or Jury Trial: Resolving Your Accident Case

Settlement or Jury Trial: Resolving Your Accident CaseWhen you’ve been hurt as the result of the negligence of someone else, the only true remedy available against those people or companies is compensation in the form of money damages. Your case can resolve via a settlement or jury verdict, and the decision to settle or try your case can affect how the matter resolves for you and the ultimate outcome of your case.

What is a settlement?

A settlement is any agreement to resolve your case before a jury issues a verdict at trial. Usually, the first attempt to resolve your case is made before a lawsuit is filed. If the insurance company cooperates, you and your Cherry Hill car accident lawyer may accept a settlement and avoid litigation altogether. Even after a lawsuit is filed, the parties can agree to settle the case at any time in the litigation. The vast majority of claims continue to resolve via settlement, which allows you to control the outcome of your own case.

What is a jury trial?

If a settlement cannot be reached, in most cases your case will proceed to a jury trial, where your attorney and the opposing party’s attorney will present the facts of the case, present witnesses, argue what happened and what manner of compensation should be expected, and provide evidence to support their arguments. After hearing all arguments and information, the jury, generally average citizens in your jurisdiction, will decide who is responsible and how much compensation you should receive.

Trials follow a general timeline which consists of several different parts, which include:

  • Pretrial conferences and motions – Prior to most trials, attorneys and judges meet to address “pretrial issues” related to how the trial should be conducted, agreed upon terms and the admissibility of specific evidence.
  • Jury selection – Choosing a jury is considered by some lawyers to be the most important part of your case and crucial to the outcome of your claims. A jury must be receptive to the arguments of your attorney, the instructions of the judge regarding the application of law, and unbiased to ensure the right verdict is returned.
  • Opening statements.
  • Presentation of the parties’ cases – Each side has the opportunity to present their “case” to the jury by presenting specific evidence through agreed upon disclosures and witness testimony, presenting their “best evidence.” Opposing counsel then has the opportunity to challenge each witness through cross-examination. Testimony may be live in Court, live via Zoom, or even pre-recorded.
  • Closing statements – After both parties “rest,” the attorneys for each side present their closing arguments – a final plea to the jury to render the verdict they think is right.
  • Jury decision or verdict – It can take minutes, hours or days, but following closing arguments, the jury must answer specific questions and render their verdict, ultimately deciding who is at fault and what, if any, compensation should be paid to the plaintiff.

Jury trials can take a few days, weeks, or even months from start to finish, and there are no guarantees of the outcome. Despite this, when fair settlement offers are not made, jury trials are the only way to force a liable party to pay the compensation you are entitled to. No matter what, our attorneys are here to help guide you through the process and fight for your best result.

Is a settlement or jury trial better?

Each person’s case is unique. What may be best for someone else’s case may not be best for yours. Both settlements and trials have advantages and disadvantages.

With a settlement, you are guaranteed a certain amount of money. Unfortunately, control in a settlement may be dictated by the defendant in your case or their insurance company, and if they refuse to make a fair offer, you may have no choice but to go to trial. With a jury trial, there is no guarantee that you will be awarded any compensation, and a jury is in control. However, sometimes having your “day in court” is important when defendants refuse to make reasonable settlement offers to ensure a fair outcome.

Do most car accident cases end in a settlement or trial?

Most car accident cases end in a settlement. Most insurance companies and accident victims do prefer to resolve the matter outside of court. However, it is common for insurance companies to fail to cooperate and refuse to make reasonable settlement offers or any offer at all. When that happens, a trial may be the only option to ensure a fair outcome and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Ultimately, these decisions must be made by you and your attorney throughout the course of your case.

If you were recently involved in a car crash and have questions about your rights with regard to settlement or even a future trial, do not hesitate to reach out to the Cherry Hill car accident lawyers at Ferrara & Gable at your earliest opportunity. Our team carefully looks at the facts and details of the case and helps guide you through the process. While we can provide legal advice and assistance, it is important to remember that at the end of the day, you will have the final say on how your case resolves. Regardless of your decision, we are ready to stand up and fight for your right to the compensation you need to rebuild your life. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free and confidential case review in Cherry Hill today. Our firm proudly serves all of South Jersey.

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