When You Should And Shouldn’t Settle Out of Court

If you are the victim in a personal injury case, you likely want to seek justice for the physical or emotional damage inflicted upon you. Typically, the most effective way to handle a personal injury of such a magnitude is with a personal injury lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, you have decided to put your efforts into seeking justice, even if that means time in a lawyer’s office or in court. 

You may be expecting to spend months preparing for a trial, but you may not realize that settling out of court is an option for you. While it may seem like the right thing to pursue a trial and maximum benefits, a settlement offer can be beneficial to you in many ways. Here’s how you can determine whether settling or taking your case to trial is the right move. 

If you are offered a settlement option, there are many factors to consider including: 

  • The amount the lawsuit is worth, versus how much you believe you can settle for
  • The minimum compensation you would like to receive, and if the settlement amount reaches that minimum
  • The length of the trial process, versus the time you might save by settling
  • Your attorney’s assessment on your chances of winning the trial and receiving full compensation
  • Whether you or the defendant will receive negative publicity due to a trial, and if you want or don’t want that to occur
  • Potential disclosure of private information if you go to trial
  • Strengths and weaknesses of your case versus the opposing side’s case
  • What other ramifications you wish to see the defendant face other than financial compensation and punitive damages

Much to many plaintiffs’ surprise, about 90% of personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. This is because settling can often reduce the time you spend with the lawsuit in your life. While you may not receive as big of a payout, you’ll be able to receive it more quickly and efficiently. 

However, there are other reasons to file a lawsuit other than financial compensation. You may be going after a corporation or person who you believe to be causing intentional harm. You may pursue a lawsuit to bring injustice to light, especially if it affects the employees of the company or the public. 

If you are wishing to enact change in your community, sticking to the trial is the best way to get your issue into the public eye. However, if all you are looking for is personal compensation for your loss or injury, settling is almost always a good idea. When you settle out of court, you can gain these benefits:

  • Privacy – In a trial, all of your records will be brought to the table and put on the public record. You may have personal details of your life brought up in court, whereas if you settle all of your information is kept private. 
  • Flexible Procedures and Legal Options – When you go to trial, you’re playing by the court’s rules. However, if you settle out of court you can negotiate with the defendant’s lawyers to come up with a deal that is beneficial to you. 
  • Resolution – While court decisions can be appealed, once a settlement is finalized it cannot be changed. Once you and the defendant agree to a settlement amount, they are legally obligated to pay. 

Before you decide on the direction of your personal injury case, talk to an attorney about your options. Katherine Stone of Injury Florida Law Firm can help you determine whether going to court or setting is the best strategy for your case. Contact Katherine at [email protected] or call our offices today for more information.