Trial vs. Settlement: How Do You Know Is the Best Option for You after an Auto Accident?

September 15, 2016 | Crandall & Pera Law
Trial vs. Settlement: How Do You Know Is the Best Option for You after an Auto Accident?

The ride-sharing service Uber has been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, as drivers filed lawsuits regarding their pay, their safety and the company’s overall policies. In April, Uber offered to pay $100 million to settle two class action lawsuits filed by drivers in California and Massachusetts, who “charged that the drivers should be treated as employees, rather than independent contractors. That would have entitled the drivers to a variety of benefits, including overtime and health insurance. It also might have put Uber on the hook for some of the drivers’ expenses, such as gas and tolls,” as reported by

A federal judge has rejected the settlement offer, claiming the amount was too little to properly compensate the drivers. In his order, Judge Edward Chen claimed that "The court cannot find that the settlement is fair and adequate," as the majority of plaintiffs would have received fewer than $100 a piece from the settlement. Uber will need to either revise its settlement amount, or the cases will have to go to trial.

This decision – go to trial or settle the case – is one that all auto accident victims may have to face eventually. It is not an easy decision to make, either: most of the time, you or your loved one has just sustained an injury, is facing mounting medical bills and potential lost wages, and may be dealing with the extensive loss of personal property, or the tragedy of losing a loved one. As auto accident attorneys, one of our duties is to explain to you the pros and cons of a settlement and of a trial, and to advise you about your realistic options and expectations for both. While class action lawsuits are different from individual lawsuits, ultimately the plaintiffs must decide what is best for them and their futures, and proceed from there.

The benefits of settling a case

Let us first look at some of the benefits of settling your personal injury case. What many of our past clients have liked about settling is how much more quickly the process comes to an end. Remember that a defendant – whether in a civil case or a criminal case – rarely wants to be a defendant; most people prefer to avoid a trial, and may offer you a settlement amount for that reason. If you are unhappy with the amount, or if you and your attorney deem it unfair, you can negotiate for a more just number.

Along with less time, settlements often mean fewer expenses. Fewer legal expenses means more money in your pocket when all is said and done – and often, that compensation comes more quickly than it would if you win at trial.

Finally, you will know from the beginning just how much compensation you will receive – and the amount may remain private, which means you can keep your business your own.

When a jury trial is the better option

Sometimes, a trial is the better option for a client. As experienced trial attorneys, we can tell right away when out client has been offered an unfair or unjust settlement – and we know how to handle your case if the opposing counsel refuses to see reason. Our experiences as former medical malpractice defense attorneys in Ohio and Kentucky give us an advantage here, because we can view a case from the other side’s perspective, and eliminate any issues that might arise in the course of a trial or negotiation before we start.

The truth is, no lawyer worth his or her salt will take a case to a jury that she or she believes is not winnable. Therefore, if your lawyer believes you should go to trial, or agrees to take your case to trial as per your request, then the chances are good your case is strong to start.

A lot of preparation is done for these types of cases. Yes, it can be time consuming and costly, but not for you – those expenses are paid by the firm, and you may not be responsible for them unless you win. Furthermore, a trial will be public record. If you are injured by a defective auto product, or because of a drunk driver, etc., the responsible party will be held accountable publicly for his or her actions.

Finally, a trial may lead to a much larger compensatory number than a settlement. In cases where your injury is truly catastrophic, you may obtain both compensatory damages (economic and non-economic) and punitive damages – another way to hold a party responsible.

Every case is different, and you should always review the pros and cons of your individual case with your lawyer. If you believe that a trial may be necessary, make sure to work with an experienced Kentucky or Ohio trial attorney who can handle any complications or complexities that come your way.

If you have sustained an injury in a crash or collision as the result of another person’s negligence, Crandall & Pera Law wants to help you protect your family and your future. Our experienced auto accident attorneys in Ohio and Kentucky work with you to find the right course of action for your needs. To schedule a free consultation in Kentucky, please call 877.651.7764. For a consultation with an Ohio personal injury attorney, please call 877.686.8879. You can also fill out contact form.