Will My Injury Case Settle or Go Before a Jury?

If you’re considering legal action to obtain compensation for injuries, you may be wondering, “Will my case settle or go before a jury?” In fact, relatively few lawsuits ever go through the full range of litigation procedures necessary to reach a jury trial. Often, a settlement will take place before a lawsuit is even filed. Below is helpful information about how personal claims are typically resolved.

Negotiating and Settling a Personal Injury Claim

Before we talk about how and why cases are settled, it’s helpful to know—at least generally—what a settlement is. With a settlement, the person making the claim for compensation (the plaintiff) agrees to give up the right to pursue any further legal action related to the accident or injury in exchange for payment of an agreed upon sum of money from the defendant or an insurance company.

A settlement offer may be made before a lawsuit has been filed or after a potential claim arises. A settlement can also be agreed upon after a trial has begun, for example, in a case where one side doesn’t feel good about the way the evidence played-out in front of the jury. In rare cases, a settlement is reached after a verdict, usually in return for the losing side agreeing not to file an appeal.

Why Personal Injury Cases Settle

In most personal injury cases, insurance companies are involved, and insurance companies would much rather settle claims than go to trial—it’s cheaper, less time consuming, and more predictable. For example, if an insurance company knows its insured is responsible for an accident, it’s often much better to settle the case than to bring an injury victim before a potentially sympathetic jury. With a settlement, the insurance company has control over how much it is willing to offer.

The Benefits of Settlement for Injury Victims

While a trial may result in a higher recovery award than a settlement, settling a claim also has benefits for injury victims. Trials can go on for months or even years if a decision is appealed. When medical expenses and lost income are factors for the injury victim, waiting for financial relief may not be the best or most practical option. Sometimes injury victims don’t have the physical or emotional strength required for a long drawn-out fight, and a settlement is a better choice health-wise.

It’s also important to remember that when you go to trial, there’s always a chance, even with an excellent case and attorney, that you will lose and receive no compensation. Many people don’t feel comfortable taking this risk and should strongly consider all their options, along with the help of a skilled personal injury attorney.

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