October 29, 2014 • Personal Injury
Many personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court since there are many advantages and benefits to this. Here are some reasons why you should consider settling your personal injury lawsuit out of court.
Trials can be Expensive, but a Settlement may not Be
Usually, the person who is injured in a personal injury lawsuit has a contingency fee arrangement with their lawyer who will receive 33% of a pre-trial settlement and 40% of the amount that is received once a trial begins. A defendant hires a lawyer who they have to pay on an hourly rate. This means that a time-intensive trial can be very expensive for them, as compared to settling. There are also other costs associated with going to trial, such as court costs, travel expert witnesses, and lost time from work.
Trials can be Stressful
Usually a personal injury trial doesn’t last for more than a couple of days, but still, the entire process of having to go to court can be a stressful one. Both parties may have their character publicly called into question and may be subjected to examination and cross-examination on the witness stand. The weeks before trial can also be pretty labor-intensive. In a settlement, terms are negotiated upon, the defendant may have to pay some damages to the plaintiff, and the matter is closed.
Trials can be Unpredictable
There is a possibility that in a trial, a plaintiff may be awarded much higher damages by a jury than the amount the defendant offered to settle the case with. There is however, no guarantee to this. Trails can be extremely unpredictable. Witnesses might come across as unreliable, evidence might be excluded by the judge, the plaintiff’s testimony might have some inconsistencies and more. In a settlement, you have more control over the outcome of your personal injury case.
The Entire Process could Take Years
Trials can be a time-consuming process. Usually, a trial doesn’t commence until more than a year after the initial claim is filed. One party might even be able to appeal the case, if the other party has won, thereby prolonging its uncertainty. Even simple personal injury cases might take three or four years, and sometimes even longer. On the other hand, in a settlement, both parties are aware of how much money is being expected and offered.
Settlements are Private, Trials are Public
All the details of a personal injury trial are most often a matter of public record, unless the judge orders the records to be sealed, which almost never happen. Every piece of evidence, all of the witness testimony, everything that both the parties used to make each other look as awful as possible, is going to be on public record for just about anyone to read. A personal injury lawsuit when settled out of court, guarantees a certain amount of anonymity. In a settlement, both parties are in control of the information that remains private and what is public. This includes the settlement amount.