Trial or Settlement: Which Option is Best?

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vermont divorce

vermont divorceIt’s understandable that many attorneys would prefer to settle a case over taking it to trial. It’s easier, faster, and overall less stressful. The downside? By settling, you are potentially giving up a far more lucrative trial verdict. If you’re shopping for a lawyer, you might want to find a professional that not only has experience in the courtroom, but is a professional who is willing to give it the fight it deserves. This could result in a much better result for the plaintiff.

Example: Georgia Man Receives Jury Verdict for a Car Accident More Than 16 Times the Amount Insurance Company Offered

Curtis McGhee, 54, faced near death in a car accident. He filed a suit seeking compensation. The defendant’s insurance company had made an offer for compensation based on diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, surgery and lost work hours for a total of 20 months.

After surgery, he was out a total of $121,000 but was then recommended to undergo lower back surgery for an additional cost of $86,000. The insurance company offered a settlement of only $50,000—far less than his actual losses and medical bills. He could have settled and received this amount, but his legal team pushed back and took the case to trial.

What you have to understand was that McGhee’s defense at the time asked for a range of $125,000 to $175,000—however, the jury ruled in favor of the claimant, bringing in a verdict at the tune of $817,500. Substantially more than what was even asked! There’s a reason for that, of course—the jury went above and beyond, considering everything from medical bills, to lost wages and more. Initially the expectation was to focus more on the cost for surgery, but when you factor in all the rest entailed in the litigation process and the longsuffering, the fact is that much effort put into justice requires considerable compensation.

Why All Lawyers Aren’t Trial Lawyers

There is, after all, a chance in any case that a claimant won’t win. You put all that time and effort, testimony and consultation alike, with the goal in mind that you’ll receive what’s owed to you, only to see the jury or judge say otherwise.

While going to trial is a risk for the claimaint, remember that it’s a risk for the attorneys, too. Consider the fact that most of these lawyers operate on contingency fees: if they don’t win, they literally don’t get paid. So you can understand many of them wanting to settle. However, if an attorney does take a case to trial, they don’t do so lightly. They know the risks, so they’ll only try a case if they feel confident about the outcome.

Insurance Companies Want to Settle, But You Shouldn’t Have to

Good lawyers make smart, careful decisions. Great lawyers will try and fight. In the end it’s all up to you as the client to decide which way to go. You deserve the best. Talk to a few different lawyers, including some with recent trial experience, to understand the best options for your case.

Written on behalf of Kathy McArthur by AskTheLawyers.com.

Author: Kathy McArthur

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