Unless you’re 10 years old and going on a field trip to discuss the Grey Ghost, the Fairfax Rifles, and the death of Captain Marr, no one likes to have to go to the court house. We all dread jury duty and having to go there to pay our realty taxes, so why would we voluntarily choose to be part of a trial if it wasn’t necessary?
Well, most people wouldn’t.
Settling Outside of Court
According to statistics compiled by the federal government, 96 percent of all personal injury claims in the United States are settled before they go to trial.
A big reason for this large percentage is the need to have claims resolved quickly without the hassle of a trial. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean settling out of court is always the best decision. Depending on your situation, it may be a good—or bad—option for you.
- It’s quicker. It can take months—if not years—of planning to get all necessary information and financial records together before a trial even begins, and then the trial itself may take weeks or months before the judge or jury comes to a decision.
- It’s easier. Besides the preparation time, trials also require a lot of investigations, interviews, and gathering of information from both your lawyer as well as the insurance company’s lawyers. This discovery process will put your life under scrutiny. Many plaintiffs are uncomfortable about that.
- It can be cheaper. The faster the claim is settled, the less time you’ll be away from work and the less time you must pay for legal fees.
- Assured recovery. You don’t have to worry that the jury might not award you any damages. A settlement guarantees that you will get some compensation.
- Smaller settlements. Insurance companies may attempt to lessen a settlement amount by subtracting potential trial expenses and using that estimation to come up with a lesser settlement value. Often, the insurance lawyer will over-estimate your likely court costs in order to minimize the settlement offer. You would need deep experience in trial negotiations to recognize that the settlement offer is unfair.
- There’s no recourse for long-term injury developments. Of your claim is rushed to settlement, you will not receive compensation for long-term injuries that haven’t shown up yet, or injuries that worsen over time. You could potentially forfeit the funds to help with long-term care and recovery.
Although there may be some financial loss, settling outside of court may still be your best option, as approximately 90 percent of the personal injury cases that go to jury trials wind up dismissed. However, sitting down with an experienced and dedicated lawyer to discuss these pros and cons truly doesn’t have a downside. Let your lawyer help to advise you on your best course of action and prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of your injuries.
Still have questions? Let us know! Please contact us directly for more information on your personal injury claims.