Settlements vs. Trials in Personal Injury Cases
If you have been injured in an accident and need to file a personal injury claim, you may imagine a long and drawn out courtroom trial. Fortunately, the vast majority of personal injury cases settle before they ever get to that stage. It is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks that come with both a settlement and a trial, so you can know what to expect from your case, and when to choose one over the other.
Personal Injury Settlements
A personal injury settlement occurs when the other party, usually an insurance company, agrees to settle your claim before it ever goes to court. When a settlement is reached, there is no need to argue your case before a judge or jury. A settlement can be reached at any point during your case, even if it does go to trial, but before a jury reaches their verdict. In many cases, a settlement is reached before a trial date is ever set.
Settlements are typically possible after you have reached maximum medical improvement and understand the full cost of your injuries and other losses. Your lawyer will draft a demand letter explaining the full extent of your injuries, the amount of damages you are seeking, and any supporting documentation. The defendant’s lawyer will then respond, usually with a counter-offer, and negotiations will begin.
Settlements have many benefits. They guarantee that you will recover damages, and they do not take as long as a trial. Still, when an insurance company is acting in bad faith, or the other side refuses to accept blame, you may have to go to trial. Also, once you agree to a settlement, you are typically barred from recovering additional compensation in the future, even if you learn later that you incurred more losses than you thought.
Personal Injury Trials
Even though most personal injury cases are settled before trial, it is important to work with a lawyer that is willing to take your case to trial when necessary. During a trial, your lawyer will argue your case in front of a judge and jury and these parties will make the final decision on your case.
Going to trial is much more time-consuming than a personal injury settlement, and they are also much more costly, as you will incur court fees, possible mediation expenses, and other legal costs. However, you can include these costs in your request for compensation so the other party is liable for paying them. Also, it is often possible that a jury of your peers will award more in compensation than what you would receive in a settlement.
Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers can Advise on What is Best for Your Case
If you have been injured in an accident, our Port St. Lucie personal injury lawyers at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. can advise on whether a settlement is possible, and we have the experience to take your case to trial when necessary. When you are hurt, call us at (772) 905-8692 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.