Most likely not, but it all depends on the circumstances of your case. If you are the plaintiff seeking damages from a negligent party, then you (and the attorney at your side) have the choice to take your claim to court. If you are the defendant, however, then it all depends on whether or not the plaintiff chooses to pursue a trial. MOST personal injury claims settle out of court, however.
Trial sometimes becomes necessary if the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, the defendant, and the defendant’s insurance company cannot reach a settlement that both parties find suitable. Find out the reasons claims don’t often make it to court below or contact a personal injury lawyer in St. Louis to learn more.
Why Claims Settle Out of Court
Even if a lawsuit is filed, there’s a very slim chance that it will go all the way to trial because a settlement is usually reached during one of the pre-trial phases. The court will encourage the parties to do everything they can to settle the dispute privately. In many cases, they may even be required to exhaust all of options (such as mediation) before a judge will even schedule a trial date.
Whether or not your case goes to trial or settles is highly dependent on some factors, including:
- Extent of the injuries suffered or property damage
- The cost of treatment
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Jurisdiction, precedence, and community norms
- How sympathetic the judge or jury might be to the plaintiff
- Plaintiff’s quality of life, age, family situation, etc.
- Plaintiff’s current income and earning capacity
- Extent of the defendant’s insurance policy coverage
In a trial, the plaintiff and the defendant must put the decision into the hands of a jury, which means both sides have to give up control, which is not ideal to either. Furthermore, if the defendant’s insurance company is relatively confident that a plaintiff’s lawsuit will succeed in court, they may choose to settle beforehand to avoid paying attorney’s fees and court costs; the plaintiff may then choose to accept that settlement because it is fair and comparable to what they would win with a verdict.
YOU Have the Choice – Pros and Cons of Settling vs. Going to Court
If you are the plaintiff seeking damages from an at-fault party, then there are pros and cons to settling vs. trial. Just because most personal injury claims settle out of court doesn’t mean that it is right for your case. A personal injury lawyer can help you weigh both sides before making a final decision.
Pros of Settling a Claim
- You receive a guaranteed settlement as opposed to possibly walking away with nothing
- You have more control over the outcome of the case rather than putting the decision into the hands of a jury
- You do not have to endure the stress of trial
- You can receive settlement money faster rather than a long, drawn-out trial process
- You can keep the details of your injury and your settlement amount private
Cons of Settling a Claim
- You may receive potentially less money
- You may not ever hear the at-fault party actually admit fault, which may rob some people of a sense of closure
- You cannot pursue further action in the future
- You generally will not receive punitive damages
Pros of Taking a Claim to Court
- You may receive a higher settlement amount
- You can fight for compensation for non-economic damages
- Your voice and story can be heard
- You can hold the party accountable on a public platform
- You can have a deeper sense of closure when everything is all said and done
Cons of Taking a Claim to Court
- You have no guarantee of winning the settlement you seek or walking away with anything at all
- You will have to wait longer for compensation
- You will have more expenses piling up throughout the long process
Personal Injury Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm
If you need help deciding whether to settle your claim or pursue a trail, do not hesitate to contact us or call St. Louis personal injury lawyer Amanda Hayden at (314) 480-3100 for a free, no-risk consultation