Why Do Most Cases Settle Outside of Trial?
When you walk into your attorney’s office for the first time after an accident or injury, you might be expecting that your personal injury journey will end up in a courtroom in front of a judge or a deliberating jury, like you’ve seen in your favorite legal thrillers. However, you’ll be surprised to learn that most personal injury cases never go to trial. In fact, over 95% of personal injury cases settle outside of the courtroom. What does this mean for you and your case?
Options for Injury Victims
After someone is injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, there are two main ways for the injured victim or their family to find compensation:
- Civil trial
- Settlement outside of court
Though many assume that all injury cases end with trials, only around 5% of personal injury cases go to trial. Most are resolved in a settlement. This is when the responsible party—or mainly, the responsible party’s insurance—offers compensation to the injured party. Once both sides agree on a settlement, the injured party agrees to drop their case.
The Benefits of Settlements
There are many reasons why settlements are more common than trials. For starters, settlements lead to a much faster resolution than a lawsuit, which can benefit everyone involved. When a case moves into the trial phase, it can take months to move through all the steps, which include:
- Discovery, which is when both parties investigate the other’s claims and gather evidence, like witness statements
- Mediation, the pre-trial process of trying again to settle the case
If a lawsuit cannot be settled through mediation, it goes to trial. This can be a very long, drawn-out process depending on the case. All in all, it sometimes takes over a year for a case to even get to trial. This can be especially stressful for the injured party, who might be struggling with medical bills or lost wages while awaiting compensation.
Expenses can also build up for the client throughout the process. Oftentimes, the expenses of going to trial will outweigh the cost of settling. To make sure their client gets the best possible compensation, attorneys will often attempt to settle a case. While a trial might seem like the best way to win compensation, a settlement is often more beneficial.
In addition, a settlement is guaranteed compensation. If a case goes to trial, there is a chance that the injured party will win nothing. A settlement means that they have a chance at guaranteed compensation, and an experienced attorney will work hard to earn the highest possible amount.
Pros for Insurance Companies, Too
While a settlement can save time and money for the injured party, it can also be beneficial for the insurance company who is working with the person who caused the accident. This is especially true for cases that are particularly damaging, like a car accident that killed a young child or a serious injury that occurred as the result of a defective product. To avoid bad publicity, both for themselves and the insured person, insurance companies often prefer to avoid trials. Like everyone else in the cases, insurance companies also want to save time and money.
Making the Best Choice
There are many reasons why a settlement can be more beneficial than a trial, but ultimately, your personal injury attorney will help you make the best decision for your specific case. This is why it is important to not only hire an attorney who understands the laws and legal process, but who is also willing to fight for your compensation and rights, no matter how long it may take.
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.