While cars deliver a countless number of people to and from their destinations each day, not all car rides proceed smoothly. New York car accidents are happening all the time. While many of these accidents result in only minor injuries, some crashes result in physical trauma that leads to long-lasting emotional difficulties and physical pain. When accidents occur due to another party’s negligence, accident victims have the right to hold them accountable. If you have been the victim of a car accident, you likely have a growing list of concerns. One of those may be, are personal injury settlements public record?
So When Are Personal Injury Settlements Public Record?
Many people are surprised to find out their personal details can be readily obtained through a search of public record databases. The details that can be obtained from settlements range from birth certificates, marriage certificates, and details about a person’s criminal history. Both the courts as well as government agencies file documents in public records databases. This means that if your personal injury case proceeds to a court of law, details about the case will likely end up becoming part of the public record.
Details about settlements as well as the nature of injuries in a crash and other details remain part of the public record and can be accessed by anyone. For this reason, it is no surprise that individuals want to know whether private information will become part of the public record or not.
The Two Options for Resolving a Claim
If a case is resolved outside of court, the details regarding the accident claim do not become part of the public record. Fortunately, most personal injury claims can be settled by parties and attorneys without the issue proceeding to court. Many cases are often resolved without their details being shared publicly. If a claim proceeds to court, however, sensitive details about the case will likely make it to public record. It is less common for a personal injury claim to proceed to court, however, because most cases resolve quickly once the parties can agree on a fair settlement. When cases proceed to court and require a judge to resolve, it is usually because a fair settlement could not be reached by the parties involved.
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Reasons to Settle a Case Outside of Court
Countless factors will influence whether it is necessary to pursue a personal injury claim in court or negotiate a settlement outside of court. Typically, many claims are resolved outside of court because parties are content with the agreed-upon settlement amount.
When parties do not agree about the amount for a settlement, it can help to understand the benefits that come from settling a case outside of court. Sometimes the ramifications of pursuing a case in court outweigh the advantages, which can create numerous complications. Some of the reasons why people decide to pursue a case outside of court include:
- When you settle outside of court, you benefit by keeping your personal details private. With no documented testimonies, there are no details about cases that will become part of the public record. To some people, keeping personal information away from the public is critical. Other people, however, find this degree of privacy insignificant.
- When personal claims are resolved out of court, a settlement can be reached much more quickly. This can mean that an injured victim ends up seeing compensation months or years sooner than if they had decided to pursue matters in court and await a judgment.
Reasons to Consider Pursuing a Personal Injury Case in Court
While there are some reasons why you might wish to pursue your personal injury case out of court, there are some reasons why you might wish to pursue compensation in a court of law. Some of the reasons why it might be a good idea to pursue your personal injury suit in court include:
- If you have endured substantial damages, that will likely interfere with your daily quality of life. In some cases, the settlement amount offered will not reflect the true extent of these hardships. In such a situation, despite the potential downside, it makes more sense to pursue settlement in a court of law because your award might be much greater.
- After serious car crashes, accident victims often have a case to pursue additional damages in addition to those associated with medical bills or lost wages. In situations where an accident has greatly impacted your physical and emotional health, it can prove helpful to fight for more compensation in a court of law.
If you decide to pursue your personal injury case in court, remember that when a court ruling is public, everything submitted to the court can be obtained by readers. Public details include information about witness testimonies, the details of a victim’s damages, what arguments were presented by both sides, and the verdict for the case. Cases that proceed to trial often do so because one side is acting unreasonably or wants to make a public statement about what occurred. Trying to resolve a case out of court is no guarantee that a case will stay out of court.
Obtain the Assistance of an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Long Island, NY
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, you should not be afraid to pursue compensation. One of the best things that you should do in such a situation is to promptly contact a compassionate car accident attorney who will address your concerns and remain committed to fighting for the results you deserve. Contact Cohen and Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.