Q. Will my case end up in trial or will we settle?
A. The simple answer here is – there is no way to know until your case reaches its conclusion, or at least nears it. Each case is very unique, and so are their outcomes. In some instances, it’s simply better to head to trial, and sometimes it may even be the only way to get what you are owed. In other instances, mediating an out of court settlement will be the better option for you. Your attorney will help you determine just what your options are and how best to proceed. No matter what, your lawyer will work hard to fight to get you what you are owed.
Q. Why could a case go to trial?
A. Generally, most cases will end up settled out of court. It is only a small percentage of personal injury cases that go all the way to trial. There are a few reasons for this including:
- An agreement on a fair settlement amount can’t be reached.
- The other side refuses payment
- The other side attempts to bully you into taking less than you deserve
- The other side stalls or prolongs the case indefinitely.
In short, if your case has reached a point where it isn’t progressing and no sign of a settlement seems to be forthcoming, heading to court may be the only option that you have available to you.
Q. What should a settlement include?
A. One of the biggest reasons that a personal injury lawsuit will end up in court is that a settlement agreement can’t be reached. A fair settlement is vital for getting back on your feet following an accident but just what does it involve. Some of the things that need to go into a fair amount include:
- Medical bills
- Future estimated medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future estimated lost wages
- Medication and medical supply costs
- Impact on earning potential over the life of the injured
- Property damage compensation
- Pain and suffering
- And more
In short, your settlement should include enough money to cover all of the financial burden your accident causes. If it fails to do so, and if an agreement can’t be reached, it may be better to go to trial to get you what you deserve.
Q. Why is it better to settle?
A. In general, settling out of court is better for a few reasons.
- It provides a faster resolution
- It improves your level of privacy
- It can’t be appealed or overturned
- It allows you to get what you’re owed and start moving on after an accident
- Lawyer fees are usually much smaller
- There is a chance that you won’t receive anything if your case goes to trial
While a trial could award you more money overall, with a skilled lawyer on your side it’s more likely that your case will reach a fair, faster conclusion so you can start focusing on your physical recovery.
Q. When is it better to go to trial?
A. It’s true that you stand to potentially receive larger settlements when a case goes to trial, and this is largely due to things like punitive damages and compensation for pain and suffering. However, it’s only really better to go to trial in a few instances:
- When the other side refuses to pay
- When the insurance companies won’t negotiate to reach a fair settlement
- When a situation exists wherein the responsible parties need to be punished for their actions
Your attorney will review your case and determine what rights you have, and which path is best for your case’s resolution.
Q. What are punitive damages?
A. Punitive damages are awarded to the injured by a court. They’re a type of damages that are designed to punish those responsible for the accident and to set an example for others, dissuading them from doing the same. Punitive damages are often very large and can be ordered in any amount at the discretion of the courts. They’re also one of the biggest reasons that insurance companies and lawyers for the other side will be more willing to negotiate than go to trial.