The Pros And Cons Of Settling Your Personal Injury Claim Out Of Court
No one wants to go to trial, even the insurance companies. Trials for personal injury claims are expensive, drawn out, and very stressful. That is why the majority of cases are often settled out of court. While the decision to settle out of court relies on many factors, there are some pros and cons you need to know before choosing this route.
Settling Out Of Court Has Its Advantages
So let’s take a look at some of the advantages when the two parties agree to settle out of court:
● Less Stress: Having to testify in front of strangers, waiting months, often years for the process, and the details of your case becoming public can take its toll.
● Fewer Expenses: Expenses can really add up. Your trial may require testimony from expert witnesses, depositions, missed work, travel expenses and attorney fees. You may be better off financially if you choose to settle out of court.
● Time: Settlements take less time. When two parties are at odds and they cannot come to an agreement, a court case could drag on for years.
● Privacy: While settlement details are kept private when a case is settled, Court documents become public record, and all the details of the case are available to the public.
● Predictability: When you settle out of court, and experienced attorney can predict a settlement easier. With a jury, they determine the verdict and even the most seasoned veteran attorney has been surprised by jury verdict.
● Settlement: Unlike a court case, the settlement cost is determined, it cannot be appealed by the losing party. It can be appealed in a court settlement and can drag the case out even longer adding to even more expenses.
Now that you have a good understanding about the advantages, there are also some disadvantages to settling out of court.
Disadvantages Of Settling Out Of Court
There are some disadvantages but for the most part there are more advantages. The cons include:
● Less Settlement Money: Going to court usually ends up with a greater settlement. Often the defendant’s insurance company will settle out of court if they know their client was wrong and you have a good chance of winning. They do not want to go in front of a jury as they are aware that many people do not like insurance companies.
● No Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant if the judge wishes to punish the defendant and benefit society. Needless to say that in most states this is very controversial.
● Compensatory Damages: The law also allows an award for pain and suffering or loss of consortium you may have sustained.
● You Give Up Your Rights To Further Claims: Probably the biggest disadvantage is that when you accept a settlement you cannot appeal that amount. However, a good personal injury attorney will have already determined what amount you need if you are going to settle.
Should You Settle Out Of Court?
Often, clients think that they should automatically go to court or that their attorney is taking the easy way out to get their money sooner. Your attorney took your case because they knew you had a valid claim and has worked hard to get you the money you deserve. Deciding if you are going to settle out of court or proceed to trial can make a difference in compensation. However, does the compensation outweigh the costs, stress, and other aspects of a court case?
Before you even get to the settlement stage, the best way to determine how to move forward is to make sure you have an attorney who is experienced, has strong negotiating skills, and is well versed as to when to settle or when to go to trial. Michael Babboni, the St. Pete’s Lawyer, is an experienced, determined attorney. With a known reputation for getting his clients settlements they deserve, he can help you from day one. Contact him for a free consultation and together you can decide if you will settle out of court or take your case to trial.