To settle or not to settle? That is the question. But it doesn’t always have an easy answer. Although the majority of personal injury cases settle, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the way to go. Under some circumstances, it might be preferable to go to court. Read on for a discussion about settlement versus trial to help you decide how you want to deal with your dispute.
Agreeing to a Settlement
A settlement is an agreement made between the plaintiff and the defendant and the defendant’s insurance company. It takes place out of court and involves back and forth negotiations between the parties. The final outcome is decided by the plaintiff when they decide to agree to the settlement.
The Advantages of Settlements
- The process is quicker and more efficient and costs less because you’re not paying for court costs.
- Settlements tend to be less stressful.
- You have more control over the outcome of a settlement because you have the power to accept or refuse an offer and you are certain of the amount that you will receive.
- Settlements are generally private. If you value your privacy or you don’t want certain facts disclosed, then a settlement is good for this.
The Disadvantages of Settlements
- You might receive less money as compensation than you would receive at trial.
- It might be not be as satisfying as a trial, depending on your feelings of closure and sense of justice.
- Once you accept a settlement, you typically can’t do anything further with the case; you can’t renegotiate a better deal in the future, even if your injuries get worse.
- Settlements are generally private. If you want admissions of wrong doings, it doesn’t happen.
Going to Trial
A trial involves both sides making their arguments and presenting evidence to a judge and jury. The jury decides the final outcome of the case.
The Advantages of Going to Trial
- You could potentially obtain greater compensation from a jury trial than a settlement.
- You could receive money for damages such as pain and suffering; these damages aren’t always offered by insurance companies in settlements.
- You may gain a greater sense of closure and justice during a trial because it proves the defendant’s fault or liability for your damages.
- Unlike a settlement, the facts and details of a trial can become public. If there are things that you want the public to know about, a trial can accomplish this goal.
- In some cases, you may be able to appeal the decision.
The Disadvantages of Going to Trial
- A trial can be lengthy and drawn-out.
- A trial is typically more expensive than a settlement, with fees for court costs, litigation, and hiring experts.
- Trials are generally more stressful.
- You can’t control a trial and negotiate a better deal like you can for settlements.
- You may not win anything at trial. It’s a risk that you could end up with zero compensation.
Talk to a Lawyer about Settlements and Trials
While it is typical for a personal injury claim to settle rather than go to trial, each case is unique; the facts of your case might indicate that going to trial would be beneficial. If you’ve uncertain as to whether your dispute should be resolved through a trial or a settlement, the experienced attorneys at MOWK Law can help you sort through the issues and make an informed decision based on your specific claim. Contact us today to learn more.