When you've been injured in an accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another, it's vital you file a personal injury claim to obtain the compensation you deserve and need.
During this stressful and emotional time, having the right personal injury lawyer on your side will help tremendously. Not only will they do all the heavy lifting, but they will ensure you get the best possible settlement based on your unique case.
Many plaintiffs will ask, should I settle or go to trial?
There are pros and cons of both taking a settlement and going to court. In this article, we will discuss each situation in detail to help you make the final decision.
After being injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another is both physically and emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully, filing a personal injury claim is fairly straightforward.
The process typically involves sending a demand letter including the amount of money you believe you're entitled to and filing a claim. From there, your personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate a settlement or help you prepare for court.
It is in your best interest to have a reliable lawyer on your side during the negotiation phase. Their knowledge and experience will help you understand the settlement that the insurance is offering and if it's a fair offer that will cover your expenses.
The right attorney will help you achieve a fair settlement outside of court. However, there are cases where the insurance company will refuse to pay what your attorney asks, in that instance, your case goes to trial.
There are several cases that never make it to court, such as vehicle and slip and fall accidents. Settling personal injury claims outside of court can be a good thing if the insurance company is willing to play fair.
Before making a final decision, it's important to sit down with your lawyer and weight the options. Each case has unique factors that will influence the decision to either settle or go to court. These factors include age and family situation, income lost, future earnings and medical expenses, severity of injuries, pain and suffering and more.
Before you settle on a personal injury claim, ask yourself these questions:
Have you hired a reliable and knowledgeable attorney?
Have you recovered from your injuries, or will there be problems in the future?
Have you considered non-economic damages like pain and suffering?
Have you negotiated?
Making a decision to settle or go to court is not something to be taken lightly. Regardless of how much you need the money or how much you want the entire experience to just be over with, it's a process you do not want to rush. It's often best to make a full recovery or take your claim to court to ensure you get a fair amount.
When you're involved in a civil personal injury case, you have choices of accepting a settlement from the insurance company or taking your case to trial.
When you consult with a reliable injury attorney, these are some of the advantages and disadvantages they will discuss when talking about taking a settlement.
Better chance of receiving compensation.
Faster than trial, meaning money in your hands faster.
Less expensive than going to trial.
Details are kept private.
Settlements cannot be appealed.
You have the final decision on whether to accept a settlement.
A rushed process, meaning you may receive less money.
Permanent deal, you cannot obtain more money once settled.
No justice, the defendant isn’t help accountable.
If you research personal injury claims, you'll find that most cases are settled outside of court. Approximately 5% of personal injury cases actually make it to trial.
Most cases are settled outside of court because personal injury claims can often take years to resolve. Court systems are packed with other cases and judges are overwhelmed. When it comes to personal injury claims, they would rather see it resolved by the parties involved—whether it's through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
With proper legal representation, you'll understand the pros and cons of taking a settlement. This will help you filter through the details of your unique case to see if you can settle outside of court, or if you're part of the 5% who will make it to court.
States and personal injury cases vary greatly. However, most cases are resolved within three months to two years after the claim is submitted.
If you choose to settle, the ordeal could be over in just a few months. However, you may be losing money and getting unfair compensation.
If you choose to settle in court, here are the typical steps you will experience—all of which could take years.
Gather a jury
Provide opening statements
Dig for evidence
Call witnesses to the stand and cross examine
Give closing arguments
This is a timeline of the trial when it actually gets to court. This does not include the preparation and case-building, which can take months.
There are circumstances in each personal injury case where a defendant should take a settlement rather than going to court. These circumstances include:
The amount of time in which you need the money.
The amount of stress it will add to your life.
If the opposing part makes a reasonable offer.
If you don't want to risk losing money in a trial.
The strength of each party's evidence.
How the jury typically rules in cases similar to yours.
A good lawyer will help you determine your chances of winning a trial. They will also sit down and calculate a minimum payout from the opposing party based on several factors. If your case is determined to have weak evidence, your lawyer can still help to negotiate a fair settlement where you are guaranteed to get compensated.
When a defendant has strong evidence, and the insurance company is not willing to negotiate, then you'll likely be advised to go to trial. Note that a trial can take years to end—depending on the jury, evidence, and the information the opposing party digs up.
An experienced and knowledgeable injury attorney has been in the same type of situation that you are currently facing. They know how to look through evidence, negotiate, and they’re not afraid to go to court if necessary.
An attorney who specializes in personal injury cases will start an investigation as soon as possible to help give appropriate advice on the amount you should receive. They do all of the legwork—relieving as much stress on you as they can.
Attorneys also tackle the incredibly confusing task of finding the insurance coverage of the opposing party. This is critical to the case for many reasons. Additionally, they help find the right experts to support your case.
An experienced civil plaintiff lawyer can make a huge difference in your personal injury case. Contact us today to start your free injury case evaluation.
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