Personal injury victims have the choice of filing a lawsuit or settling a claim out of court. If a plaintiff does not wish to settle their claim, they can take their case to trial and have it determined by a judge instead. Although you are wholly entitled to take your personal injury claim to court and have the outcome resolved by a judge or jury, most cases can be settled without getting the courts involved. A seasoned and skilled personal injury lawyer is always prepared to take a claim to court, but can usually settle a claim without ever going to trial, as long as the defendant’s insurance company will be reasonable.
The decision to settle or file a lawsuit is one of the most significant decisions you must make as a personal injury victim. The ultimate decision is entirely up to you, however, it is strongly advised to carefully deliberate your options with your trusted lawyer. They have the knowledge, experience, and resources to provide professional guidance and recommendations for your case.
Factors in the Settlement Decision
There are numerous factors that may influence a plaintiff to file a lawsuit and take their case to court. One of the most common reasons is receiving an insufficient offer from the opposing party’s insurance carrier. A plaintiff may believe that the settlement offered is not enough, and that their claim has more value. If an insurance company makes an offer that the plaintiff feels satisfies their claim, then it is usually settled before going to court. Most personal injury cases are settled this way.
Reasons to Avoid Court
There are several reasons why a personal injury plaintiff may want to settle outside of court. One of the most contributing factors is the possibility of losing. In this scenario, a victim could walk away with a very little settlement, or even nothing at all. This same scenario applies to defendants as well. They could risk losing the trial, and being ordered to pay much more than what was originally demanded by the plaintiff. However, this usually does not happen since a defendant’s insurance company will usually pay any award against a defendant, up to the defendant’s policy limits.
For both sides, there are also court and legal fees that coincide with taking a claim to trial. Additional reasons why plaintiffs and defendants might want to avoid a trial include the possibility of appeals, delays in receiving compensation, supplementary court costs, deposition fees, expert fees, and more.
Claims That Go to Trial
Although rare, sometimes it is necessary to take a claim to trial. Most often, it is because a settlement cannot be fairly agreed upon, or court/jury intervention is necessary to determine the true value of a claim. Other times, the reason can be more complex. Talk to a licensed and experienced personal injury lawyer about the unique circumstances surrounding your claim.