If you have been hurt in a car accident, it is likely that you will have medical bills and other expenses to cover. In the event that negligence played a role in the accident, it may be possible to get compensation to cover those costs. How do you decide if you want to get that compensation through a settlement as opposed to going to court? While it’s advisable to discuss this matter more specifically with a car accident lawyer Milwaukee WI trusts, here’s a brief overview of your two options.

When Should You Settle?

As a general rule, you should never settle a case until you have talked to an attorney. Insurance companies and other potentially liable parties may want to give you less than you are entitled to in an effort to make the case go away. However, it may be a good idea to settle your case if the other side is willing to give you what you want with little hassle.

Settlements may also be best if you are partially responsible for the accident and don’t think that a jury would rule in your favor. Legal counsel will likely advise you as to whether or not the evidence indicates that you were at all liable for your injuries. Finally, agreeing to a settlement may be best if you would rather get something now as opposed to going through a long civil trial.

When Should You Sue?

It may be better to file a lawsuit if the other side is not negotiating in good faith. In some cases, this is because opposing counsel thinks that they have a strong case and would rather go to trial. It could also be because the sides are too far apart when it comes to how much you should be awarded.

If the party liable for your injuries is a major corporation, it might want to go to court in an effort to save face. Alternatively, it may decide to drag out the legal process because the corporate entity knows that the average person can’t fight a legal battle forever. However, in a personal injury case, your attorney generally doesn’t get paid unless you win, so it may be in your best interest to be patient.

What to Know About Filing a Lawsuit

Many states have statutes of limitations relating to filing personal injury lawsuits. Typically, you have two or three years to file your case before you forfeit the right to claim compensation through a formal trial. This is why you may benefit from talking with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. It is also why your attorney will likely suggest that you file a lawsuit even if you want to settle. In many cases, a judge will ask you to engage in settlement talks prior to proceeding with a trial.


Deciding whether to settle or to sue the person who hurt you is just one of many decisions that you will make during the legal process. However, it could set the tone for how your entire case plays out. Therefore, be sure to think carefully about your choice, and it may not be a bad idea to consult with an attorney before making it.


Thanks to our contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into car accident cases.