When you’ve been seriously injured as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Many potential clients wonder whether their case will go to trial, or if they should expect to settle out of court.
Pop culture might give the impression that most, if not all cases go to trial, but that couldn’t be further than the truth. The vast majority—usually estimated around 95 percent—of personal injury claims are settled out of court.
Why do claims settle out of court?
Litigation is often time-consuming and expensive. Cases can take a year or more to go from the initial filing to trial alone, which drives up the cost and inhibits attorneys from taking on other claims. Furthermore, if the verdict is appealed, it can be even longer before the plaintiff is compensated for their injuries.
Insurance companies also have a vested interest in settling out of court. Because litigation is expensive, the insurer is likely to want to keep costs down. Trials can be unpredictable, and an insurance company will want to mitigate the risk of higher expenses and a much larger potential settlement. On top of that, juries tend to be more sympathetic to victims—and the insurer may wish to avoid appearing like the “bad guy” in public. Since settlements often allow the defendant or insurer to pay out without accepting fault, that can be appealing for their public image.
Finally, lawsuits and trials are extremely stressful. Plaintiffs typically do not want to recount painful and traumatic experiences during discovery and the trial itself. They may also wish to retain as much privacy as possible.
Is there an advantage to going to trial?
There are some situations in which going to trial is desirable. When a defendant refuses a reasonable settlement offer, and your attorney believes the facts and evidence support much higher compensation, they may recommend taking the case to trial. This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so it’s important to talk to an attorney to understand your options.
If you’ve been injured in an accident as a result of someone’s negligence or recklessness, contact a skilled Sarasota, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh today.