Statistics show that the majority of personal injury cases end in settlements out of court. The main reason for this is that settlements are faster, less expensive and a lot less risky. This article will discuss some of the advantages of settling a personal injury case.
The majority of personal injury cases settle out of court long before trial is on the horizon. Many others pay before a personal injury lawsuit has even been filed. There are several advantages linked with taking out of court settlements as compared to taking a case to trial. Some of these advantages include the following:-
- Litigation is expensive - Generally, the plaintiff in the personal injury lawsuit has retained the services of an attorney and have a contingency fee agreement. Often this agreement is that the attorney will receive between 33% on any pre-trial settlement, and 40% is received after the trial begins. While this is a reasonable amount to pay an attorney, it is important to note other expenses associated with litigation. When a lawsuit goes to trial, it may require expert witnesses to testify to prove your case. Generally, expert witnesses are not cheap and are paid by the hour. In addition, court costs, travel and lost time from work all add up considerably to expenses associated with the case. The discovery[Discovery | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] process involves many depositions, including deposing experts. Some plaintiff attorneys may agree to pay pre-litigation expenses on behalf of the client, for example, expert witness fees. However, other attorneys may not do that and require these fees to be paid upfront. If pre-litigation expenses are paid on behalf of the plaintiff, these amounts will be taken out of any award or settlement.
- Trial is stressful - A typical personal injury trial will be a few days longer. However, the process can be highly stressful for all parties involved. Both the plaintiff and defendant may be subject to examination and cross-examination. Their past is likely to be brought up and publicly scrutinized. Further, the weeks leading up to the trial are labor intensive for the attorneys and the parties involved. Conversely, with a settlement, an offer is made, an agreement is negotiated, and the defendant or insurance carrier pays the agreed-upon amount to the plaintiff, and the matter is concluded.
- Trial outcomes are unpredictable - While there are chances that a jury may award the plaintiff a very high amount in damages compared to what the defendant may offer as a settlement, unfortunately, there is no guarantee of this happening. It is possible for the plaintiff to be awarded far less than the settlement offer or not receive an award at all because of how unpredictable trials are. This can be because the judge excludes key evidence, eyewitnesses may fold during cross-examination or prove unreliable, etc. However, in a settlement, both parties are in control of the negotiations, and the outcome is most likely a win-win.
For advice and representation, speak to attorneys and law firms in Wasilla Ak.