Do I Have to Go to Court to Get a Settlement?

There are many different phases of a personal injury claim, though it is simpler to view them within the view of three primary stages: pre-lawsuit filing, post-lawsuit filing, and trial. Before taking the case to trial, the personal injury plaintiffs and their attorneys will establish whether or not the claim can be settled in the pre-lawsuit filing or post-lawsuit filing stage or if the case must go to trial. If the case goes to trial, then you will have to go to court. If it does not, then you can settle out of court.

Deciding If You Should Go To Court

When it comes to your personal injury claim, one of the most important decisions that you will make is whether or not you should take the case to trial or if you should settle outside of the courtroom. You will want to take this decision seriously and carefully consider whether it is advisable or common to do so in your case or in cases like yours. It will be easier to make this decision if you have the guidance of a qualified personal injury attorney who understands the details of your personal injury claim.

There are many factors that will be considered in this decision. One of these is the nature of the offer that the plaintiff has received from the defendant’s lawyer or insurance. If the plaintiff is satisfied by the settlement offer, then there is likely no need to take the case to trial. However, if the two sides of the claim cannot agree on the value of the claim, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Still, this does not mean that the case will go to trial. This can be an effective way of jumpstarting negotiations to move in the right direction, though you must be ready to take the case to trial if no agreement is reached.

Why Most Cases Don’t Go To Trial

Personal injury cases are civil cases, and like most civil cases, they usually don’t go all the way to trial. The statistics may vary by study, but 80% to 90% of personal injury cases will be settled out of court. There are several factors that keep most plaintiffs from taking the case the court, and these factors will vary according to the details of each unique case. Some of the more common factors that keep these cases from going to trial include the following:

Litigation Costs

It is very expensive to take a case to trial, with attorney’s fees and court costs making it challenging for both sides to see the value in going to trial instead of settling outside of court.

Delayed Compensation

In many cases, especially personal injury cases, the plaintiff is in need of compensation and cannot wait long to receive it. Many people will accept a lower settlement to avoid the challenging wait that comes along with the higher recovery that could be obtained through a jury trial. Medical bills lost wages, and various other costs can put plaintiffs in a difficult financial position and make them willing to settle for less than what the case is worth, simply because they need the money right away.

Risk of Losing Case

No matter which side you’re on, a trial is risky. For the defendant, the risk of losing the case is in having to pay an even higher amount than what the plaintiff originally demanded. For the plaintiff, the risk of losing the case is in not receiving anything at all.

Possibility of Appeal

A settlement is a binding contract that guarantees that both sides can rest assured that the case is closed and will not be re-opened. However, in a trial, the side that loses the case can initiate a lengthy phase of appeals before the case can be closed and damages paid.

When Is It Necessary To Go To Trial?

While both sides are naturally motivated to avoid taking the case to trial, there are some situations where it will be necessary. Not all cases can be resolved fairly through the settlement negotiation process. The liability of the defendant may be clear, the damages may be well documented, and yet the defendant may refuse to offer a reasonable settlement agreement. In this case, you need to go to trial. If you are not sure if you should go to trial, contact an attorney to seek professional advice.

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