The majority of personal injury cases never go to trial. In fact, only about 5% end up making it to the courtroom. When deciding whether or not to settle, or when is the best time to settle, your personal injury claim, there are several things to consider. This decision is best made with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. One of the biggest advantages is that in settlements, the conflict ends immediately rather than being dragged on in court for months or even years. The most important questions someone should ask themselves before settling is: “How much is my case worth?”
Instead of going to trial, there are three primary ways that personal injury suits reach a resolution.
Three Primary Ways Personal Injury Suits Reach A Resolution
- Negotiated Settlement
This type of resolution involves negotiations between your attorney and the defendant’s insurance company or other legal representative. Both parties will negotiate until they agree on the settlement amount. Brad Parker says, “Once you accept this money, you are giving up your right to pursue further legal action.”
When those involved in the claim can’t reach a negotiated settlement, they may turn to a neutral mediator. A mediator may be an attorney or a retired judge. They can serve as a neutral connection between the parties to help them reach some form of settlement. Each party will have the chance to speak directly with the mediator alone.
Arbitration is similar to mediation; however, it functions more like a trial. In this method of settlement, both parties will formally testify before the arbitrator.
Benefits of Settling a Claim
- There will be lower legal costs because there won’t be the fees associated with going to trial.
- Settlement proceeds come more quickly.
- Settling means avoiding the time and energy that a jury trial takes.
- There is certainty that you will receive some compensation for your injuries and the outcome of a trial is unpredictable.
Reasons Not to Settle
- You may unknowingly settle for less than you deserve.
- Trials provide the opportunity to show the defendant’s wrongdoing.
- A trial allows you to tell your side of the story in court.
Factors That Affect the Timing of Your Settlement
- Severity of injuries and duration of treatment
- The number of liable parties involved
- Availability of witnesses
- How long insurance adjusters take to return calls and review documents
- How long it takes to obtain medical records and evaluations from your healthcare provider
- How long it takes to gather information from law enforcement or the court
The best odds of reaching a favorable outcome during the negotiation process is having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. They will assess your case, help you manage evidence and important documents, and negotiate with insurance companies and other lawyers. Brad says, “If you’re unable to reach a fair and full settlement during negotiations, your personal injury attorney will take your case to trial and represent you in court.”