Settlement or Trial: How to Decide Your Best Option as a Personal Injury Victim

Getting hurt due to someone else’s negligence is painful beyond the physical damage. You feel wronged when a negligent driver, doctor, or business owner is the reason for your suffering. Unfortunately, personal injuries are common in the US, with millions of victims sustaining them every year. While some mishaps cause minor damages, others land victims in hospitals.

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Fortunately, personal injury law comes to the rescue of victims, entitling them to seek compensation and justice. Statistics show that 2022 witnessed a 1.7% growth in personal injury lawyers in America. The number indicates the confidence patients have in the legal system. However, according to Forbes, a lawsuit can take months or even years.

Conversely, you may opt for a settlement to expedite the process and get on with your life. Most cases are resolved this way, and only 4-5% of claims go to trial. Both options have their pros and cons, and victims should understand them thoroughly to make an informed choice.

We will help you consider the key factors to weigh these options and decide the best one in your case.

 

Assess Liability and Damages

Assessing the strength of your case is the first step for deciding between settlement and trial. You may be in a good position to get a high-value settlement if the liability is clear and the damages are significant. Conversely, going to trial may be a better option when the liability is disputed or the extent of damages is complex.

We will highlight the instance of a road accident in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in March 2022. The two-vehicle head-on collision along US Route 258 claimed one life and caused severe injuries to the second victim. In such cases, attorneys in Murfreesboro, TN, will recommend seeking justice by trial rather than settling the claim out of court.

According to Hudson, Reed & Christiansen, PLLC, personal injury compensation shouldn’t be just about financial damages. It should also cover the cost of trauma and mental anguish faced by the victim. Whether you settle the claim inside the court or on the table, ensure getting what you deserve.

 

Consider Timelines and Resources

Victims seeking quick resolutions must opt for a settlement, provided they don’t settle for a lowball sum. It may be an ideal solution if you need prompt financial relief due to hefty medical costs and lost wages. You may also consider it if you wish to avoid a prolonged legal process due to a busy schedule. Additionally, wrapping up the case quickly makes sense when the damages are insignificant.

Trials can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, but they are worthwhile when you have time and resources. Your current financial needs are a deciding factor in this context. Also, think about whether you are ready to bear the emotional toll of extended legal proceedings.

 

Understand the Risk Factor

With settlements, there is a degree of certainty because both parties agree on the terms. Victims know the final amount of compensation they will receive and when. Experts recommend waiting until your injuries reach the stage of best possible recovery. The last thing you want is a hidden injury like spinal cord damage surfacing after signing the settlement deal.

Trials involve an element of risk, and success is not guaranteed, even if the potential rewards may be higher. You must weigh the certainty of a settlement against the risks (and rewards) of a trial to choose wisely. Consulting a lawyer is a good approach at this point because they can help you decide the best alternative.

 

Calculate the Legal Costs

According to statistics, the median settlement amount for personal injury cases was $31,000 for all cases studied in 2022. However, the value may be much higher depending on the severity of the damages and injuries. Besides estimating the claim value, you must also calculate the cost of pursuing a trial.

Litigation can be expensive as it includes legal representation costs, court fees, and expert witnesses’ fees. While you can hire a contingency fee lawyer, they will still charge when you win the case. Data suggests that a lawyer usually costs around 33%-45% of the total settlement or court award. If your financial resources are limited, consider settling the case without taking a low offer.

In conclusion, you should not act impulsively when it comes to deciding between a settlement and a trial. A personal injury claim requires careful consideration. Also, each case is unique as the nature of the accident, extent of damages, and financial position of the victim vary. Consider these factors to evaluate your situation to make an informed decision.

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