When it comes to filing a personal injury claim, you have options. Deciding whether to settle a personal injury lawsuit out of court over taking the case to trial is a major decision that should not be made lightly. Some individuals would just as soon settle the matter quickly, whereas others are more inclined to let a judge and jury determine whether damages should be awarded, and how much the victim should receive.
Neither is right or wrong; it will just depend on you and how you would like to proceed. In order to get a better idea as to which option may be best for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of settling a personal injury claim out of court.
There are a number of advantages of settling a personal injury claim out of court, including:
- Reduced stress – One of the main reasons you may opt to settle out of court is to reduce the burden and stress that is typical from going to court. Out-of-court settlements allow for lesser time spent dealing with the case, translating into less to worry about during an already stressful period of your life.
- Better chance at “success” – By settling out of court, you are guaranteed to some form of legal compensation for your injuries. If the case goes to court, there is a chance (however small) that the judge may rule in the defendant’s favor, which can affect your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries.
- Time – In most cases, settlements take much less time than trials, which can last for months (if not years). Many people simply do not have the time or means to take off of work to worry about a trial, so a settlement may make the most sense if you are attempting to be done with the claims process as quickly as possible.
- Privacy – Settling a personal injury claim out of court means that the details of your case will be kept private, unlike court documents which become public records as soon as the case goes to trial. Keeping the details of an embarrassing or severe injury private may be in the best interests of those who do not want to face the scrutiny of a public jury.
As with many choices, the decision to settle out of court does not come without consequence. Two of the primary reasons not to settle out of court include:
- Less compensation – In some cases, settlements provide the victim with less compensation than they would receive from a court trial. This is one of the primary reasons why some will choose to take their claim to court, particularly if a severe injury is sustained, or if the price of medical treatment exceeds the value of the settlement.
- No punitive damages – Depending on the details of your case, settlement amounts may not take into consideration certain punitive damages, such as the emotional suffering endured as a result of the accident. This can be a deciding factor in taking a case to court or not.
Sitting down with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine what the best course of action is for you and your claim. Whether or not you choose to settle out of court, your satisfaction and wellbeing are one of our top priorities. Contact Greathouse Trial Law today to speak with a personal injury attorney and to discuss the details of your case.