Drunk drivers cost the United States approximately $44 billion every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many people seek compensation for a drunk driving accident in the United States. While many get claims are filed, only a small percentage of them ever go to trial. Your accident claim will most likely settle out of court.
The drunk driving accident lawyers at John Foy & Associates can help you get the settlement you deserve. We have helped hundreds of car accident victims fight for proper compensation throughout our many years of practice. For a free consultation, call us today at (404) 471-3348.
Many Drunk Driving Accidents Settle Out of Court
One of the primary reasons why drunk driving accidents settle out of court is because of the extreme negligence associated with driving while intoxicated. The courts are incredibly unsympathetic to drunk drivers. Due to their lack of sympathy, they will almost always side with you. A jury will more than likely award you with a settlement and then some.
Courts can levy punishments in the form of punitive damages. Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) §51-12-5.1, these damages only count under specific circumstances surrounding the accident, such as extreme negligence, wilful disregard of safety, and malice. Most insurance companies generally don’t want to pay out additional fines and will try to settle out of court to avoid them.
The vast majority of personal injury claims get settled out of court. Chances are, your claim will settle out of court as well. When you negotiate with the insurance company on how much your settlement should be worth, it is in your best interest to have a lawyer assist you.
Reasons Why You May Want to Settle Out of Court
There are various reasons why you might also decide to settle out of court:
- The settlement offer you received is fair and appropriately addresses all of your damages.
- You do not wish to partake in a long trial.
- You need money fast and cannot wait for negotiations.
These are all valid reasons, but they should not be the deciding factor in settling out of court. You should settle out of court only if you are sure that your settlement is what you need to cover all of your damages.
Insurance companies can pressure you into accepting a lower settlement by masking it as if they are in your benefit. In reality, they are trying to get you to settle fast at a low amount so they can absolve themselves of any further liability. Do not let them exploit your situation after an accident. Before you decide to settle out of court, contact a lawyer to properly negotiate a fair settlement.
Factors that Decide Whether You Should Go to Trial
Some factors that help both the insurance company and your attorney decide whether to settle out of court or through trial are:
- The extent of your damages and the severity of the accident.
- Legal precedence on your case.
- How much sympathy you can get from a jury.
- Your age and any dependents you may have.
All of these factors influence your claim in different ways. An insurance company may want to go to trial if it knows it can get the jury to be unsympathetic to your plight. The extent of your damages may be so severe that you wish to get the maximum amount of compensation possible through the court.
It all depends on how much time you can afford, how much money you can spend for legal fees, how much money you wish to receive in your settlement, and who depends on you to survive. We can help you evaluate your case and inform you of the best route to take.
How an Attorney Can Improve Your Eventual Settlement
While you may think that settling out of court won’t require an attorney, you should understand the risks involved with doing that. Having an attorney by your side will encourage the insurance companies to negotiate a settlement fairly and quickly. If you lack legal knowledge, they might try to use that against you to get you to settle your claim for far less than it is truly worth.
We do not charge any upfront costs and operate on a contingency fee basis. If we do not recover compensation for you, you owe us nothing. Our team will fight hard for your rights and ensure that when you settle, it will provide you with the means to pay for your expenses and move on with your life away from the accident.
Settle Your Claim with Assistance from Our Attorneys
For over 20 years, our law firm has helped drunk driving accident victims get their settlements. Whether after a hard-fought trial or out of court, we have dedicated ourselves completely to the clients we assist and the cases we take on. Get a free consultation with us today. You can reach us at (404) 471-3348.