Personal Injury Case: Settlement Vs. Going to Trial

When you’ve been injured in an accident because of someone’s negligence, the burden of going to trial is usually among the first thoughts that may come to mind. If a car accident has totaled your car and caused you injuries, you must think about getting the proper compensation for the financial and emotional damages you suffered. You have to go to trial to receive compensation, right?

Actually, that’s not always the case. Lawyers who are skilled in this area also recommend that clients settle outside of court. In most cases, you can get compensation without going to court if you settle outside of court. If both parties can’t reach an agreement, then you will file your case, and a civil court will handle your personal injury case

The question is: would a trial be better than a settlement? Usually, it’s better to settle than to fight. There is a good reason why most cases involving personal injuries are settled before trial. In this article, we’ll look into which one is better for your case – going to trial or agreeing to a settlement.

Personal Injury Cases Going to Trial: When Does it Happen?

When you hear about a personal injury case going to trial, you imagine a courtroom with a judge and jurors. However, most personal injury cases never see the inside of a courtroom and get settled during the pre-trial negotiations. So, when does a case go to trial?

When there’s a liability dispute

Your claim may be disputed if the other side denies causing your accident and injuries. Because settlements depend on both sides agreeing, liability disputes increase the possibility of a case going to trial. A settlement is reached when both sides communicate, compromise, and come to an agreement on an amount of money that will resolve the issue. 

The case may end up in court if neither party agrees on who is liable for the accident. Based on the evidence and facts presented, a jury will determine fault.

When the settlement negotiations have failed

The value of a claim also differs between the sides in some personal injury cases, despite both sides agreeing about fault. It is common for an insurance company to undervalue a claimant’s losses in an attempt to limit its financial liability. Sometimes, insurance companies may refuse to increase their offers despite the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

An attorney for the plaintiff may be forced to file a lawsuit if a settlement agreement is not reached. A catastrophic or permanently disabling injury is most likely to result in this. 

During settlement negotiations, insurance companies typically offer much less than the case is worth. The lawyer may take your case to trial if he or she believes you are entitled to maximum compensation after a severe injury.

When there is insurance bad faith

Insurance companies sometimes fail to settle claims fairly when they intentionally mistreat claimants. This is known as insurance bad faith. It occurs when an insurance company fails to resolve a claim in good faith. 

For cost-saving reasons, the insurance company ends up treating the case dishonestly or unfairly. Your case may end up in court if the insurance company does this. 

You may be able to get the insurance company to pay you the total amount for your losses and injuries if you take it to trial. If you are inconvenienced or harmed by the insurance company, your lawyer may wish to bring a bad faith lawsuit against them for additional compensation.

Advantages of a Personal Injury Settlement

Compared to a personal injury trial, a settlement can be more attractive to plaintiffs since it is faster and less expensive. The outcome is also guaranteed, whereas a trial can result in no recovery. 

Additionally, settlements can keep injury claims from becoming public. Trial records are public, while settlement records are private. 

Getting compensation is certain and timely.

The trial process can be lengthy and unpredictable, and with the possibility of appeals, the resolution can be even longer. By contrast, clients who settle a claim receive compensation faster and can move forward with their lives.

You have control over the outcome.

A settlement allows your personal injury lawyer to determine whether to accept the offer and negotiate the terms. In this way, you have the option of choosing based on your specific circumstances and priorities. 

Trials have the risk of leaving a defendant empty-handed, whereas settlements guarantee some compensation. It can be very appealing to the injured party to experience this level of control and assurance in personal injury cases, as a more predictable outcome can help with future planning and recovery.

You can avoid the stress of litigation.

Evidence, witnesses, and arguments presented before a court and jury during personal injury trials can be emotionally and mentally draining. Rather than being subjected to courtroom stress, the client can settle their claim.

Your personal injury case remains confidential. 

Terms and details of settlement agreements are often kept confidential, which means that they cannot be disclosed to the public. Many individuals prefer to keep their affairs private, so this privacy may appeal to them.

Advantages of Going to Trial

When you choose to go to trial for your personal injury case, you will allow a judge and jury to determine the outcome. Even though taking a case to trial can be time-consuming and uncertain, there are situations when it might be most beneficial to do so:

You can pursue maximum compensation.

An at-fault party or their insurance company may not be willing to settle fairly, so it may become necessary for the victim to go to trial to seek maximum compensation.

You can establish accountability and liability.

Liability and accountability can be determined by going to trial in some cases. In a trial, evidence and arguments can be presented publicly to demonstrate the negligence of the other party.

It can set legal precedents.

A trial can contribute to the development of personal injury law and protect future accident victims’ rights.

Get Help From an Expert Personal Injury Lawyer

In summary, settlement outside of court has many advantages. Depending on the circumstances of your personal injury case, you may have a compensation case. 

Whether you choose to settle or go to trial, you will need the help of a lawyer with experience in these cases. Your personal injury lawyer will take the appropriate legal action on your behalf.