Should I Settle My Personal Injury Case?
The decision to settle your case versus taking your case all the way through trial is a tough one. Like most legal questions, the answer is “it depends”. There are three common reasons why car accident and other personal injury victims choose to settle their personal injury cases instead of taking them all the way through trial.
Reason #1: Avoiding Unpredictability
There is one thing both plaintiff attorneys and defense attorneys can agree on: juries are unpredictable. We all have lost a case we knew we were going to win, and have won a case we knew we were going to lose. Jurors and their ultimate decisions can be very unpredictable. Also, a case that seems clear-cut on liability or damages, can become muddy when witnesses disappear or testify differently than anticipated or when the Judge rules against allowing an important witness to testify. When a plaintiff chooses to settle, they know that the case is going to be over and that they are going to get x number of dollars in their pocket. When a plaintiff chooses to go to trial, they leave their fate in the hands of a few strangers and can sometimes be disappointed with their ultimate decision or the value that they place on their damages.
Reason #2: Settlement Costs Less Than Trial
Litigation is expensive! While your personal injury attorney is fronting all of the money for your case, including all litigation events leading up to and including trial, you ultimately pay these costs from the amount of money you collect from any verdict. It’s not unusual for a plaintiff attorney to spend over $20,000 to put on their evidence for a simple rear-end collision.
Reason #3: Getting Paid Faster
It should come as no surprise that accident victims who accept a settlement for their injuries get paid faster than those who wait to collect a verdict from a trial. Sometimes defendants appeal jury verdicts and the case can go on for many more months or even years, before the Plaintiff is able to even attempt to collect one penny of their verdict.
Only an experienced personal injury attorney licensed in the state where you’re making your claim, and who is familiar with the exact facts of your accident, can give you their best advice on whether you will end up in a better position if you accept a settlement or take your case through trial. However, at the end of the day, only you — the client — can make the ultimate decision on whether a settlement or a trial is right for you.