How likely will I settle out of court in my car accident? 36 Answers as of July 08, 2013

I got rear-ended yesterday (10/3/11), and the other driver got issued a citation. It wasn't his personal car. He was driving a company car. How likely will they settle out of court, and for me to receive pain-and-suffering compensation? By the way, I have minor car damage (i.e scratches & cracked bumper), and some lower back and neck pain.

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The Murphy Law Firm
The Murphy Law Firm | Candace M Murphy
There is no "hard and fast" rule about whether or not a party settles a claim. Your best option would be to consult with an attorney to determine your chances of success in the matter. However, please be advised that no attorney can guarantee you a particular outcome. An attorney can evaluate the facts of your case and advise you on how the law applies. However, he or she is not able to provide and exact dollar figure for your case.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/13/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Normally a rear end collision results in a settlement, but only with scratches they wont take your claim of injury very seriously. You didn't say anything about medical costs but if you have injury you need to be under a doctors care. If you have scratches and no serious injury and no medical bills you might receive anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars. $500 might be a good bet. You don't get money because someone made a small mistake. You get money because there is real damage and real injury.; scratches wont cut it.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 10/6/2011
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
It is very likely that they will offer something out of court. Whether this settles the case will depend a lot on How little you are willing to accept to settle the case. I have found that you normally have to file suit to get reasonable offers, but hat eventually it settles out of court. If the accident happened yesterday, I think it is way too early to be thinking in terms of settlements and whether you should file suit. See how bad your injury is first.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 10/6/2011
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
You should retain an attorney immediately. Most cases do settle out of court, but you need the guidance of experience.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/6/2011
AyerHoffman, LLP
AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
Only about 3 percent of suits make it to a jury. About 5 to 7 percent are settled by the parties during trial. The rest settle before trial. It is highly likely your case will settle out of court. In Massachusetts it is presumed that a driver who rear-ends another driver was negligent. It can be successfully argued the rear driver was not at fault, but that driver carries the burden. You should consult a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process. Make sure you seek medical attention and continue treatment as long as medically necessary. It is a good idea to keep a journal of the manner in which the accident and any injuries you may have is affecting your life.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 10/6/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    There is a threshold of injury required to collect those damages in Michigan. I would be happy to discuss this with you in detail.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    With or without a lawyer? Do you want to be paid a fair amount or just some money? Don't confuse a friendly adjuster with who your friends are.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    You can only recover financially from an injury if you have what is considered a "serious injury" as that term is defined by law. This includes death, miscarriage, fractures, a total disability that lasts 90 days or a permanent partial disability. The injury must be confirmed by objective medical proof such as an x-ray, MRI, CT scan or nerve conduction study. It is way, way too soon to tell if you have a qualifying injury. Six months is common just to find that out. Some insurance companies simply will not offer any settlement in any case no matter what the injuries. Others will fork over a few bucks just to get rid of a claim. Still others don't seem to understand that they are in the claims business and need to be educated as to their responsibilities. The list goes on.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    In order to sue for being injured in an car accident you have to sustain a "serious injury" which includes death, dismemberment, a broken bone, loss of a fetus, significant disfigurement and certain other specific kinds of lesser injuries including being disabled for at least ninety of the first one hundred and eighty days following the accident. Do you meet these criteria? There are no restrictions on your property damage claim.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S.
    Richard E. Lewis, P.S. | Richard Eugene Lewis
    Most cases do settle out of court, but there are a lot of factors. Make sure you get medical attention and them follow all instructions.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Timothy Jones, Attorney at Law
    Timothy Jones, Attorney at Law | Timothy Jones
    Very likely. The vast majority of car accident cases settle without the need for a trial or an arbitration.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC
    Matthew D Kaplan LLC | Matthew D Kaplan
    The Insurance company will offer you something and you can decide if you want to take it. My recommendation is for you to hire a lawyer and not talk with the at fault drivers ins company.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    The best way to settle your case for fair value is to let the other driver's insurance company know that you are prepared to go to court if necessary. Most accident claims are settled without going to court.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    The first thing you need to do is go to the doctor and have your lower back and neck pain evaluated. In Utah, if your medical expenses and lost wages are less than $3,000, you can't bring a claim (but your $3,000 PIP coverage will pay your medical bills). If your expenses are greater than $3,000 you should find an attorney who can help you, because the insurance companies aren't likely to pay you what the claim is worth.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    First thing to address is your injuries. Get to a qualified medical professional to have your injuries assessed, and get some treatment before you even think of addressing settlement. Next, have your car looked at by a decent body shop. Make sure the estimate they do is thorough. Once you have finished medical treatment, then, and only then do you speak to the at-fault insurer about settlement. Handling collision claims can be difficult, and having an attorney represent you may be the best option. Consider speaking with one of the attorneys on the Law Q&A website that's in your area. Most will evaluate your case at no cost, and it's worth the guidance, even if you don't hire one.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    Most rear-end soft tissue cases do settle. But typically, to get a fair amount for your settlement, you need an attorney. The other driver's insurer will ask you to provide a recorded statement and give them access to your medical records. I recommend you decline both requests for the time-being. Let your attorney deal with them. Your primary goal at this time should be to do what you need to do to get better. If you are feeling better after a month, you probably can resolve this one your own. But if you are still having pain problems after a month - and they don't appear to be getting better; I encourage you to contact a qualified personal injury attorney - like me - to assist you with your claim. All personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis - which means you don't pay any fees up front - and your entire fee obligation comes solely as a percentage of what the attorney is able to recover for you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    Just because you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and that you were not at fault does not mean you will settle a case for pain and suffering. In New York you must show that you have sustained a serious injury as prescribed under the New York State Insurance Law.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    It really depends on several different factors. Each case is different depending on the injuries, the insurance company, property damage, etc. Research indicates that it is more likely to settle and for a higher amount if you employ an attorney to handle the claim for you. This can be a very tricky process and you need someone who is familiar with it and who can guide you through it so that you are not given the run around by the insurance company. Most people who have never been through this process are often tripped up and come to regret it when it's too late to correct.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Unger Law Firm
    The Unger Law Firm | Jeffrey Unger
    The vast majority of cases settle as compared to the number that are actually tried. Obviously, the amount of damages you may ultimately receive will depend on the extent of injuries received and the medical treatment necessary to care for those injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you obtain compensation for the damages you have experienced.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Most cases settle without a lawsuit being filed. You should focus on whether you need medical care. Failure to see a doctor is the number one reason cases fail to impress a jury. If you aren't injured, don't waste the time sitting in a doctors office. Get your car fixed and get on with your life.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers
    Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers | Andrew D. Myers
    If you settle yourself you are not likely to get full value on the settlement.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP
    Dwyer, Black & Lyle, LLP | Kevin Habberfield
    First of all, treat with your doctor and make sure you get healthy before anything else. Secondly, make sure your no-fault (PIP) claim is set up. If you satisfy NY's serious injury threshold, you can claim pain and suffering. If not, you cannot and are stuck with purely economic losses. In short, the seriousness of your injuries will determine whether you have a claim for pain and suffering and how much of a claim you have. Right now, you just need to get healthy. Then go get an attorney, if you think you need one. As far as settlement goes, it's hard to say. Most cases settle at some point but, some are tried to a verdict so the odds favor settlement over trial but, no attorney can answer what you are asking without seeing the future and having more information. Only time will tell.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    It is highly likely you could settle but be aware that with low impact you can expect low settlement offers.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of Dean B. Gordon
    Law Office of Dean B. Gordon | Dean B. Gordon
    You should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to obtain advice. An employer is usually responsible for accidents caused by one of its employees who is driving a company-owned vehicle during the course and scope of employment. Approximately 95% of cases settle before trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    El Dabe Law Firm
    El Dabe Law Firm | Edmond El Dabe
    Your question is impossible to answer without more information. The likelihood of settling depends on what your medical bills are, how serious yourinjuriesare, and whether the adverse driver's insurance company is reasonable with you. If they make you an offer and you are happy with it, you can accept and settle the case. On the other hand, if you do not like their offer, you will not settle outside of court and will have to sue.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC
    Law Offices of Richard Copeland, LLC | Richard Copeland
    Yours sounds like what is generally referred to as a "minor impact, soft tissue" or MIST case. Insurance companies all have their own approaches to handling these claims. Some are quite tough, while others are much more motivated to get the file off the books. You probably have a decent chance of an out-of-court settlement, but that will depend on the particular insurer with which you are dealing and how reasonable you are about the value of your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Chalat Hatten & Koupal PC
    Chalat Hatten & Koupal PC | Linda Chalat
    You should contact a personal injury attorney before communicating any further with the insurance company. They will probably offer a very low-ball settlement amount - even if you pay a one-third fee to an attorney, you will probably receive a significantly greater amount of money with a lawyer representing your claims. And most personal injury firms provide free initial consultations and contingent fee arrangements where you only pay attorney fees if the attorney collects on your behalf. You may have long term difficulties that require medical attention so do not settle until you have a complete idea of your condition. You have three years in Colorado in which to file a lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle accident, so you have plenty of time for proper diagnosis.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Mark P. Miller | Mark Miller
    It all depends on the insurance carrier that you are up against. A lot of carriers currently fight tooth & nail when the accident is a low impact (less than $1000.00 worth of damage) and there are only soft tissue injuries such as those that you have sustained. They'll be willing to settle out of court, but maybe not for the amount you want them to, especially if your symptoms go away soon.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    It is premature to formulate the value of your case, but you do have a case. Many such cases do settle before a trial or even having to file suit. It would be appropriate for you to consult with a personal injury attorney in the near future to ensure you will protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Your chances of getting any compensation beyond out-of-pocket medicals and wage loss is zero unless your treating doctor is of the opinion that you have received a permanent injury or permanent impairment as a result of the accident.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A.
    Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. | Orman Kimbrough, Esq.
    The general rule is that many cases such as your resolve before reaching a jury trial. However, each case is based on the facts of the wreck as well as the injuries caused by the wreck. Also, your expectations, requirements and amount of money you are seeking may play a significant role in effecting whether the case settles out of court. Because of these factors it is difficult to give a specific likelihood of the outcome of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Greg Peterson, Attorney at Law
    Greg Peterson, Attorney at Law | Greg Peterson
    Cases of clear liability are seldom tried. Settlement is relatively easy assuming the other driver is insured. Getting a fair settlement is an entirely different matter. The only way to approach such a case is to assume you are going to trial. Preserve and collect your evidence pictures, bills, documentation of lost wages. Fully pursue medical treatment if it is indicated (you are in pain or worried about the extent to which you may have been injured). With minor property damage you should expect an uphill battle. Remember people are not as tough as cars. You may well need to hire an attorney to fairly resolve your claim. If you do, do it early to take full advantage of your attorneys services.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 10/5/2011
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