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Settlement vs. trial: Which is better for my personal injury case?

In a personal injury case, you have the option of accepting a settlement or taking your case to trial. Most personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractices, never make it to trial. Instead, you can settle them out of court.

However, this doesn’t mean you should always settle out of court. Both settlements and trials have their pros and cons, and understanding each can help you make an informed decision. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of both settlements and trials.

Settlement

This instance is a formal resolution of a lawsuit before the matter reaches the court. Typically, personal injury lawyers can settle at any point during litigation. For example, they can settle before a formal lawsuit is filed or the day the case is taken to court.

While there are no cases alike, settlements usually follow a standard process, which includes;

1. The plaintiff’s attorney files a demand letter.
2. The defense attorney responds to the demand letter and, at times, makes a counteroffer.
3. The attorneys start negotiating until they reach a settlement agreement that satisfies both parties.
4. The parties then sign a formal settlement document which includes liability.

Pros

Unlike trials, settlements are much quicker as they take anywhere between three to six months to complete. Hence, they’re less stressful on the injured person, giving them ample time to focus on their recovery. Additionally, because settlements are quicker to finish, they cost less, and you avoid attorney fees.

Most people prefer settlements as the results usually are kept confidential. Also, you’ll know the dollar value of the award you’ll receive, making settlements more certain since you control the outcome.

Cons

Unfortunately, when it comes to settlements, there’s a chance you’ll get less money than if you were to go to trial. It’s also important to note that settlements are final, and if something were to happen, e.g., your injuries worsen, there’s nothing you can do.

Trial

Suppose your personal injury case goes to trial. In that case, the plaintiff and defendant argue their cases before a jury, determining whether the defendant should be held liable for the damages caused. Generally, a jury has six phases:

• Selecting a jury
• Opening statements
• Cross-examination and witness testimony
• Giving closing arguments
• Jury instruction
• Final verdict

Pros

Most people opt for trials as they’re more likely to receive much more compensation if the jury rules in their favor, mainly if they include money for pain and suffering. However, one of the reasons why individuals prefer trials is they provide an opportunity to be heard. Plus, if the jury determines the defendant was at fault, they have to plead guilty, unlike a settlement where they don’t admit to any wrongdoing.

Cons

Unfortunately, trials are highly unpredictable, and you can spend a lot of time and money on your trial only to lose, causing frustration. Another downside of going to trial is that they’re usually long, drawn-out, and expensive, taking up to a year to solve. Therefore, they can be stressful on both parties as they inhibit one from going on with their lives freely.

Which is better for my personal injury case?

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to personal injury cases. For example, some cases are better off if they do go to trial. The only way to determine what’s best for your case is to hire a personal injury lawyer.

Your personal injury lawyer can provide you with all the information you need and advise you accordingly. If your personal injury lawyer can settle out of court, then there’s no need to go for trial. But, if they feel you deserve more compensation, you’re better off going to court.

Contact Guy Levy Law today to hire your personal injury lawyer.

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