Personal injury cases are often settled before they go to court—and there are plenty of advantages to coming to an agreement without a trial. Other times, it’s more advantageous for our personal injury lawyers to represent clients in the courtroom. Here’s more about the differences between the two approaches and the pros and cons of each.
If you’re in need of an experienced personal injury attorney, please call or text our law firm at (904) 251-1111.
Settlements Versus Trials
For clarity’s sake, here are definitions.
A settlement occurs when a dispute is formally resolved before the issue is taken to court, usually through negotiations between the parties’ attorneys and their insurance companies. A settlement can be reached before or after a lawsuit is filed. In fact, it can be agreed upon at any point before the issue actually goes to court. Once parties are in agreement, documents are signed that detail the settlement’s specifics, and they include a release of liability from the plaintiff.
A trial, meanwhile, takes place in front of a judge or jury that will hear both sides of the argument and then decide if the defendant caused (should be held liable for) injuries of the plaintiff.
Pros and Cons of Settlements
Perhaps the biggest advantage of settling a personal injury case is that it can happen much more quickly. Plus, as the injured party, you can accept or reject any offer that’s presented to you. You have more control during this process than you would in a courtroom where a judge or jury makes a determination you must abide by.
With a settlement, though, there is a possibility that a court may award a higher amount. Additionally, once the injured party signs off on a settlement, they can’t go back for additional damages, even if their medical condition worsens.
Pros and Cons of Trials
Taking a case to court comes with its own pros and cons. There is typically more potential for a higher settlement in a court case, especially when the insurance company isn’t offering a reasonable amount for the settlement.
Trials tend to be much longer than the negotiation process involved in a settlement—and, even after investing resources into the trial, there’s no guarantee you’ll win. In that scenario, it would have been better to have accepted a settlement, even if less than ideal.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can weigh the pros and cons of accepting a settlement versus pursuing justice in the courtroom, and recommend the best pathway forward.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm
Personal injury lawyers at Harrell & Harrell, P.A., offer free, no-obligation consultations and, if we represent you, you’ll only pay if we win. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve®. With the experienced attorneys at our law firm, you’ll never need to face the big insurance companies alone. Contact us online or call 904-251-1111.