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Should You Settle Your Car Accident Claim or Sue in Court?

When you're in a car accident, you'll need to decide whether to settle your case or go to court. It can be a tough decision depending on your circumstances. If you're not familiar with the courts, you might not know where to start to figure out what's best for you. Every case is different and nuanced, so there's really no easy way to figure out the answer. The best thing you can do is take the time to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Here are some of the things that you should know and consider when you decide whether to settle your car accident claim or sue in court.

What Does It Mean to Go to Court?

Going to court can mean different things to different people. Filing a formal case doesn't necessarily mean having a jury trial. Most of the people who sue in court don't end up going to trial. Even after you file a case, chances are, it's going to resolve before trial. Deciding whether to settle a car accident claim or sue in court can mean choosing whether to file a formal legal case and choosing whether to settle the case or take it to trial.

Settling Before Filing a Claim

Some car accident cases settle before they even reach the first pleadings in court. Typically, when a car accident claim resolves before filing a formal court case, insurance companies are involved. Insurance ends up paying the bulk of the victim's damages, however, there are some advantages and disadvantages to resolving your claim at this stage.


  • The case usually resolves the fastest of any method
  • You can quickly get a check in your hand
  • There's no stress or worry about what might happen in a court case
  • There's no public record of what happened or the settlement


  • You may not know the full extent of your damages before it's time to agree on a settlement
  • You can't conduct formal discovery to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your case
  • Compensation may be lower than it might be if you file a formal claim
  • There may not be an admission of liability by the responsible party

Filing a Claim and Settling Before Trial

Even when suing in court, the vast majority of cases resolve before trial. When you file a formal claim, you can still try to work it out with the opposing parties. There are good reasons that you might want to settle your case rather than take it to a jury trial.


  • You have the opportunity to fully explore discovery and build your claim without the stress of a trial
  • You get paid faster than you likely would by waiting for a trial
  • Minimizes attorney fees while still allowing you to pursue a case aggressively
  • The other side may be more willing to settle when they realize the strengths of your case
  • You may be able to negotiate a resolution that's more flexible and creative than what you might receive from a jury
  • You have confidentiality, and the details of your case aren't made public
  • The other side is more likely to pay a settlement than a jury verdict


  • You might miss the satisfaction of going to court
  • The other side may not offer you a reasonable settlement
  • There's a chance the jury might award you more than you might accept in a settlement

Going to a Jury Trial

When you have a car accident claim, you have the right to a trial by jury. A decision to accept a settlement is yours alone. However, there are pros and cons to taking your case to a jury.


  • You get your day in court
  • You have the finality of knowing what a jury has to say about the case
  • If you win, you get the emotional satisfaction of knowing the jury saw it your way


  • There's a chance you might lose
  • You might have to testify
  • A trial can be long and stressful
  • Litigation costs might be higher because of witness fees, expert fees, and other expenses
  • You don't know the outcome until you hear the verdict
  • The verdict may not be as tailored to your unique needs as you might be able to work out in a settlement
Related: How to Sue for Personal Injury In Las Vegas

Why Do Most Cases Settle?

According to the American Bar Association, less than one in 50 cases goes to trial. Nevada's court rules allow the parties to conduct discovery. The discovery process allows the parties to learn about the case and gather evidence before it goes to trial. Not only does this help you build your case, but it also helps the other party understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case. When all of the cards are out on the table, the value of a case is often clear to both sides.

Working With an Attorney

Your car accident attorney in Las Vegas can help you determine the best course of action for your case. If you hope to settle your case without needing formal court proceedings, you might begin with a demand letter to the insurance company. If you plan to take a case to trial, you must formally file your claim and aggressively pursue discovery and other case preparation. There are pros and cons to each course of action. While the decision is ultimately yours, part of your attorney's job is to guide you.

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Bernstein & Poisson is highly skilled at sifting through the facts of a case to offer the expertise needed to ensure your rights are protected. Our experience can give you valuable insight into your case and advice for choosing the best possible path for your recovery considering all the circumstances. If you have been injured in a car accident, call us at (702) 602-8869 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free, no-obligation case review today. There is no fee unless we win.