When filing a lawsuit, many people expect that their case will go to trial. Media and pop culture can give the impression that all cases will be heard in front of a judge and jury. In practice, the vast majority of cases settle outside of court. It’s estimated that only five percent of personal injury lawsuits ever make it in front of a jury.
Why do cases settle out of court?
In most cases, it’s reasonably clear whether one party has sufficient evidence to prove their claim. Because each party has to share certain evidence with each other—often in a pre-trial process called discovery—both sides can evaluate the situation and decide whether it’s worth proceeding to trial.
Generally, it’s better for both parties to settle out of court. Trials can be time-consuming and expensive, dragging out potential compensation payday for months if not years. The plaintiff benefits from a faster resolution, while both parties avoid the expense of a trial. Therefore, cases which proceed to trial typically have a genuine question of fact or law—that is, reasonable minds could differ on who or what was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
How settlements are reached
Your attorney will let you know if you’re offered a settlement, and whether they believe it’s a reasonable offer. If the offer is too low, your lawyer will make a counteroffer, until you can reach an agreement.
You are never required to accept a settlement. Settlements can be reached at any time before and even during a trial. However, it’s important to remember that settlements are binding legal resolutions. Once you accept a settlement, your case is concluded. You won’t be able to file another lawsuit regarding the same conflict.
If you’ve been injured in a accident, the seasoned Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyers at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can help. Call today for a consultation.