Can you settle an injury case out of court? Yes, you can settle personal injury cases out of a court of law. The nature of your case determines whether it’s better to settle it out or in a court of law. Settling an injury case out of court comes with several advantages over court settlement. Surprisingly, most personal injury claims are settled before reaching the trial process.
Numerous types of accidents like medical malpractice, vehicle accident, and slip and falls accidents never make it to a court of law. There are reasons why a significant number of people prefer settling personal injury cases before the trial begins.
How Many Cases Are Settled Out Of Court?
A significant percentage of injury claims settle out of court. However, it is difficult to tell the exact number of cases settled privately out of court. Although settling an injury case out of court can save you a lot of headaches, you still need to enlighten yourself about the negotiation process so that you can recognize a reasonable settlement.
Here are reasons why it’s better to settle injury cases out of court.
1. Trials Are Stressful
Although a typical personal injury case lasts for several weeks, the process drains the parties involved as they are subjected to a stressful series of cross-examinations. Additionally, the weeks before the trial date are laborious for both parties and the personal injury lawyer(s).
When you decide to file for a personal injury lawsuit, you are not sure when the judge will make a ruling. Handling an injury case out of court helps you control and creates enough time to recover both physically and mentally.
2. Saves on Cost
Going to trial is more expensive than out of court settlement negotiations. If you choose to go through a personal injury trial, you will have to compensate witnesses for their travel and time. Also, you have to pay a litigation fee and attorney fees. By choosing settlement negotiations, you can avoid hurting your wallet by foregoing these court costs.
3. Preparation for Litigation Needs Time and Effort
When you choose a jury trial, you have to prepare documents and have expert witness testimony. You have to schedule a meeting with them before the trial date. Also, you have to carefully review witness statements before they appear in court and repeat this process with every witness.
There are many things you need to check before you go through the legal system. Even with an experienced attorney, a court case includes a series of activities which makes it tedious. You need to be patient and persistent when choosing this laborious process.
However, settling an injury case out of court doesn’t mean you won’t need preparation. Settling an injury case out of court is not intense since once you have agreed on a fair amount, the process completes. With settlement negotiations, you agree on a certain amount and file the settlement paper with a court to make it an enforceable court order.
4. Trials Are Unpredictable for Personal Injury Cases
Unlike in settlement negotiations, two parties have less control when a court is handling a legal case. Although juries work according to the law, their judgment might come as a surprise to one party or both. You might be very optimistic about getting a fair court settlement, only to get disappointed when things don’t work in your favor.
In court, there is no surety that things will go your way however strong your argument is. When settling things out of court, you can predict and control the outcome. You can work with an experienced attorney and make the insurance company understand your terms fully. Settlement out of court helps you to work towards getting the best possible outcome.
5. Privacy is Guaranteed for Out of Court Settlement
Courts are public and everything you say is on public record. This means that members of the public can appear in court and follow what is happening. Additionally, all interested parties in this case third parties have the right to review court documents. This can make you feel uncomfortable, especially when you are required to give confidential information. On the flip side, when parties agree to settle the case out of court, the only thing that can be made public is the agreed personal injury claim compensation. You don’t have to worry about sharing your medical history and personal life in the presence of public members.
6. Defendant Doesn’t Need To Accept Liability
When parties choose to go to trial, and the defendant loses, they are officially supposed to compensate the plaintiff’s damages. However, if the parties reach an agreement, the defendant isn’t required by law to admit liability. Even a case involving soft tissues injury can take three to four years to be determined. On the other hand, both parties can agree to finalize the matter after compensation is done with settlement negotiations.
7. Appeals Can Take Ages
The verdict of a lawsuit doesn’t mean it’s the end. The losing party can file an appeal which can take a couple of years before it is determined.
How to Respond To a Low Settlement Offer
Insurance companies tend to offer low settlement when handling issues out of a court of law. If an insurance adjuster offers a low amount, you can choose to end negotiations, leave and return only when accompanied by an experienced personal injury attorney.
This can work in your favor and trigger the opposing party to increase their offer. However, if they continue to play games with you, it’s time to file a lawsuit. Suppose the other party kicks off by proposing a low offer. In that case, you can give a settlement demand and only return to negotiations when the offer is raised to a reasonable amount.
Being a little harsh to the opposing party will make them raise the initial offer. That’s said, you should
not be too rigid. Try to compromise reasonably to continue negotiating and reach an agreement that is fair to both parties.
How to Tell a Good Settlement Agreement
It’s not easy to define what makes a reasonable settlement. A fair settlement in one case may not be a
desirable settlement in another. Appropriate compensation can be better described as an agreement that offers you a reasonable amount for the physical and emotional injuries you suffered. While it doesn’t mean you received the highest possible value, it means you received a fair compensation that acknowledges the harm that you experienced.
Also Read: How to Respond to a Low Settlement Offer