Personal Injury & Medical Malpractice Blog

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Should I Accept A Settlement or Take My Personal Injury Case to Trial?

Let’s say you were involved in a serious car accident and want to sue the liable party. Or maybe you now have lifelong injuries due to a defective medical device and want to hold the manufacturer liable. Maybe you are suffering serious back and neck injuries from a slip and fall at your local grocery store.

These are all examples of personal injury claims. A personal injury claim involves a plaintiff (the victim who suffered injuries) and the defendant (the party who is liable for those injuries). For anyone injured by another party, the most common course of action is to initiate a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries. In many cases, the defendant may offer you a settlement amount, in an attempt to avoid going to trial.

What should you do in your situation? Would it be better to settle outside of court or do you have a better case of winning even more money by taking your case to trial? A personal injury attorney can help you make the best decision given your particular circumstances.

Accepting a Settlement

If you are presented with a settlement offer, it can be very tempting to simply accept it and move on. However, settlement offers are typically very low – much less than your damages are worth. Obviously, the defendant wants to pay as little as possible, so the individual or company is not going to give you a full offer.

However, your lawyer be able to negotiate with the defendant. If the defendant has very little evidence to defend themselves, they may be hesitant to go to trial and face a judge. Therefore, threatening the defendant to take them to court may be enough to get them to agree to a reasonable settlement offer.

It may be surprising to know that about 95 percent of cases are settled outside of court. Many people want to avoid the cost and time involved with a trial. If you want to avoid court, but at the same time, want a decent settlement offer, let your lawyer know so he or she can negotiate for you on your behalf.

Going to Court

If you prefer to battle it out in court and try to get as much money as possible, then the odds are in your favor. Ninety-percent of court cases favor the plaintiff. However, in a trial situation, costs can add up quickly. A typical trial can take 60 hours or longer, and if your lawyer charges by the hour, that’s a significant amount of money, on top of court fees and other costs. Plus, your lawyer may need to pay for expert witnesses, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Will going to court be worth the costs? If the dollar amount of your case is substantial enough and your case strong enough, the answer may be, yes. However, note that companies have more financial resources than individuals, so don’t expect a poor defendant to offer or be able to pay a substantial amount of money.

Talk to Your Lawyer

Your lawyer has a good idea of what your case is worth and how much you can expect to receive as a jury verdict based on similar cases. Given the time and costs of a trial, it may be worth it to opt for a settlement offer. For more information on how you might want to proceed, please call New York personal injury lawyer Arthur O. Tisi today for a FREE consultation.


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