Pros and Cons of Settling VS Going to Trial
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
You might be surprised to discover that the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court. This means that both parties were able to reach an agreement without the involvement of a judge or jury. There are many benefits to settling outside of trial versus going to court. However, the circumstances of your case and the parties involved could determine the likelihood of your case going all the way to trial, or potentially reaching a fair settlement without going through the hassle of trial proceedings. Before accepting a settlement offer, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a trial attorney to make sure you are getting the maximum compensation available to you. A settlement that may seem fair to the untrained eye could actually be insufficient to cover future bills related to a victim’s injury and recovery as well as non-economic damages.
Pros and cons of settling outside of court:
- Less money is spent on a drawn-out legal process. Pros: When you settle quickly, you do not have to pay the same quantity of legal fees and expenses that would accumulate in drawn-out court proceedings. Cons: However, if your case is a personal injury claim, you likely won’t owe any money unless and until your attorney wins your case. Additionally, even the expenses which would go into preparing your case for court will be paid by the firm at no cost to you.
- The issue is resolved swiftly and your money will be received as soon as possible. Pros: Settlements are often resolved much more quickly than the outcome of court proceedings. Additionally, you are likely to begin receiving that compensation much sooner than when seeking compensation in court. Cons: However, a quick settlement could indicate the negligent party is trying to low-ball you with an offer to put the matter to a quick end. This could also indicate that they have failed to account for the various damages you have or will sustain as a result of the situation they put you in.
- A victim is able to avoid the stress of participating and preparing for court proceedings. Pros: Preparing to appear in court before a judge and jury is something that causes many victims distress. The desire to avoid this stress altogether can inspire some victims to accept an unfair settlement just to avoid the hassle of court proceedings. Cons: However, some victims want their stories to be told and do not wish for the matter to remain private as it comparatively would when settling outside of court.
Pros and cons of going to trial:
- You may benefit from the expertise and presence of a judge and jury. Pros: A jury of your peers is often more likely to award you with fair compensation for your damages than the opposing side in a settlement outside of court. Cons: However, there is a degree of uncertainty in the outcome of going to trial which doesn’t exist in settling.
- An attorney can fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Pros: An attorney can take the time to present evidence to the judge and jury, strengthening your argument for compensation and possibly increasing the overall worth of the case in the eyes of deciding participants. Cons: However, if you are paying the legal expenses yourself and/or your case falls into a field other than personal injury, this can be an expensive and lengthy process.
- You might get the defendant to admit on record to their wrongdoing. Pros: In settlements, this is not common. Additionally, the defendant could be held responsible for their wrongdoing if it is proven and acknowledged by the jury. Cons: However, proving the other party’s wrongdoing and convincing the jury of it can make the process of trial time-consuming.
- You get to tell your story to the public. Pros: Settlements are often private, but some stories could greatly benefit the public in being told. If your case is a good example of a common injustice, you might desire for it to be something the public is privy to and can learn from. Cons: However, if you wish for the matter to remain private, this might not be an ideal situation for you.
If your case is likely to go to court, it’s a good idea to hire a trial attorney.
Any attorney can go to trial for you, but not all attorneys are trial attorneys. Trial attorneys have undergone additional client advocacy training in addition to having years of trial experience which another attorney might not have. Trial attorneys are well-versed in court proceedings and unlikely to be flustered by a difficult trial. Additionally, a trial attorney is unlikely to pressure you into accepting a settlement offer that might not represent the maximum amount of fair compensation due to you for your damages. A good trial attorney will be just as prepared to negotiate a good settlement on your behalf as they are to take your case all the way to trial. If you have more questions regarding the differences between settling and going to trial, or want to learn more about your eligibility for compensation, seek legal counsel.