Are you planning to file a personal injury lawsuit? Once you’ve filed your suit, you’ll most probably be faced with the decision of whether to settle the claim with the insurance company pre-trial or to go to trial.
This decision is vital because once you receive a settlement; you can no longer proceed with the claim. Many people are afraid of settling since they feel that they won’t get as much compensation as they would if they go to trial.
However, the statistics beg to differ.
Trial or settlement?
According to statistics from the US Department of Justice and various other legal resources, only 4-5% of personal injury claims make it to trial. A good majority of claims (95-96%) are settled out of court before they go to trial.
If you do feel that your case is strong enough to go to trial, you should be cautious. According to statistics, only 10% of cases that go to trial are successful.
Why so many claimants are settling
One common line that personal injury attorneys use to advertise their services is that they will not settle. However, as statistics show, most personal injury cases are settled pre-trial. What makes people opt for settlement as opposed to going to trial?
- To avoid lengthy litigation
It can take several years for a personal injury lawsuit to make it to trial. The litigation process once the case is in trial can also take a long time. Many people would prefer to have the issue settled as soon as possible. They therefore opt for settlement with the insurance company.
- To avoid stress
The discovery process can take a long time. It can also be very intrusive. Discovery involves gathering information related to the accident and the injuries that resulted. Information is exchanged between parties as they build up their cases.
Discovery often involves an examination of the personal affairs of the claimant including cross examination of the claimant during a deposition and during trial in open court. This can be extremely stressful Medical records, financial records and other personal information is fair game. Defense attorneys may use this information to discredit you. This can be stressful.
- To avoid the expenses
Although most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, there are other expenses that arise in litigation that could easily drain any compensation you may receive from the jury verdict. Expenses such as deposition costs as well as fees for expert witnesses will eat up a good majority of your compensation. You may not recover much from the trial.
It is important to consider all these factors when determining whether to go to trial or to accept a settlement.