After a car accident, your personal injury lawyer may file a lawsuit to make sure you get the full compensation you are owed. However, the reality is that most cases are settled before they ever get to trial. The insurance company or other liable party may offer a settlement to release the legal claims against them. If the injury victim accepts the offer, the claim will be over.
Personal injury claims after a rideshare accident may be more complicated than with other drivers. A rideshare accident involving Lyft or Uber may have multiple parties get involved, including:
- Driver's personal insurance company,
- Rideshare insurance company,
- Rideshare company, and
- Any other parties involved.
With multiple parties involved, it may take longer to negotiate a fair settlement. In the meantime, your rideshare accident lawyer may continue to pursue the case towards trial. If the defendants do not make a fair settlement offer and your case goes to trial, it will generally be up to the jury to decide the amount you are awarded for compensation.
There are benefits and drawbacks to settlement offers and taking the case to trial. The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have represented victims injured in rideshare accidents in Colorado and can answer your questions about trial versus settlement in a car accident claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Will My Rideshare Accident Claim Go to Trial?
If you are hit by an Uber driver, Lyft driver, or injured as a passenger, you may have a claim against the negligent driver. However, the driver's insurance company may be the party who is paying for the damages. The insurance company is not likely to just cut you a check or admit liability in the accident. This is why it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the rideshare driver and the rideshare company.
Most car accident claims never make it to trial but your attorney should actively pursue the case all the way to trial and even beyond, if necessary. It may take some time before the insurance company makes its first settlement offer. Early on, the settlement offer may not be enough to cover your damages. Your lawyer may continue negotiating to get more compensation until you get a fair offer that you want to accept.
Trial vs. Settlement: Pros and Cons
There are benefits and drawbacks of taking a settlement offer and of going to trial. Generally, a rideshare accident claim will involve multiple settlement offers. Your lawyer will advise you of the offers, inform you of your options, give you a good idea of what your case may be worth, and help you to continue to negotiate.
Pros and Cons of a Settlement
The primary benefit of a settlement offer is that it will be a guaranteed payment you receive without going to trial. There is always unpredictability with a trial. Even if you have a good case and should get a significant award, the jury may focus on one weakness and end up denying your claim. It may be comforting for the injury victim to know they will be getting some compensation instead of the all-or-nothing option of going to trial.
Another benefit is that a settlement will save you time and money compared to going to trial. The civil court process can be long and complicated. It may end up taking over a year before your case goes to trial. A settlement agreement will allow you to get some compensation more quickly to pay your bills, get your car repaired, and replace your lost income.
However, the downside of a settlement is that it may not fully cover your damages. Once you accept the settlement, you will be releasing the parties of liability. If you later find out your injuries were more serious, it will generally be too late to go back and get more money.
Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
Sometimes, the insurance company may refuse to cooperate and refuse to make a fair settlement offer. Going to trial may make sure the negligent party has to pay the injury victim the full compensation for their losses. The insurance company that does not want to make a $10,000 settlement offer may later face a jury award that forces them to pay $100,000.
Alternatively, trials can be long, difficult, and expensive. There is a lot that happens before a trial, including gathering evidence and question-and-answer sessions with the insurance company. Depositions, interrogatories, and a drawn-out trial can take their toll on the injury victim. It can cause stress and take a year or more before the case even goes to trial.
Steps in a Rideshare Accident Lawsuit
The further along the lawsuit progresses, the more chances for settlement. Even after a couple of years of litigation, the case may end up settling hours before the trial is supposed to begin. Over the course of the lawsuit, your attorney and the other parties involved may have a better idea of the value of the case and whether it is in their interest to settle.
Your case generally begins with a consultation with your Colorado rideshare injury lawyer. Your lawyer will help you understand your claim, the strength of your case, and the amount of damages you may be able to receive.
Your lawyer will then continue to investigate your case and gather evidence, including:
- Accident reports,
- Police reports,
- Photos of the accident scene,
- Witness testimony,
- Medical records,
- Employment records, and
- Consult with experts.
Your lawyer may then make a settlement demand to the insurance company and rideshare company.
The next step may involve filing a civil lawsuit in Colorado state court. The lawsuit outlines the basis of your claim and relief sought.
After filing the lawsuit, your case goes through the “discovery” process. This is the exchange of information between parties. Your lawyer will request information from the driver, insurance company, and rideshare company. If the rideshare company does not give up the information, your lawyer may file a motion to get access to any records the other party does not want to share, such as phone records that show what the Lyft or Uber driver was doing at the time of the accident.
Before trial, the court may try and get the case to settle through a settlement conference. If the parties cannot settle, the case will go to trial.
Even after the jury makes a decision on who is liable for the injury victim's losses and determines the award, the parties may still appeal the decision.
At any point along this process, the parties may settle to release further claims.
Can My Lawyer Make Me Take a Settlement Offer?
You are the one who ultimately decides whether to accept a settlement offer or not. Your lawyer cannot accept a settlement offer if you do not accept the offer. Your lawyer cannot make you take the offer. Your lawyer also cannot make you take your case to trial if you want the settlement.
Your lawyer may strongly recommend that you accept the settlement and you should carefully consider your lawyer's advice. Generally, your lawyer will have a good sense of the settlement offer and the chances of success at trial. This may be the difference between a guaranteed payment and taking the chance that you could end up with nothing. However, the final decision of whether or not to take a settlement is your choice.
Get a Consultation Before Accepting a Lyft or Uber Settlement Agreement
Accepting a settlement offer from Lyft or Uber or the insurance company can have serious repercussions. You should be cautious about making an agreement that releases your legal rights without a full understanding of your legal rights and options. A consultation with a Colorado rideshare accident lawyer may help you understand the value of your claim and strength of your case.
The attorneys at accidentdenver.com have successfully represented accident victims and their families who were involved in a Lyft or Uber crash in Colorado. Our attorneys understand how the insurance company and rideshare companies operate and will fight to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.