Should You Settle Or Go To Trial?
For injured victims hurt in an accident, the personal injury process is scary and daunting. You are facing insurance companies or cities or doctors who do not want to give you a fair settlement on your case. The litigation process can take years and it is very stress inducing. However, in the back of your mind you know that the vast majority of cases like yours settle (according to Blacks Law Dictionary 95-96% settle before trial) and you know that one day your lawyer will likely recommend to you a settlement amount. The question you would like to know is whether you should settle your case or go to trial.
The answer depends on many variables. The first is how solid is your case. Can your attorney clearly prove that the defendant is responsible for your injuries? Is there evidence to show that you are responsible for your injuries? In other words what is the “liability picture” regarding who is at fault for your injuries. The second factor is what are your injuries? The more severe the injuries the more likely that the insurance company will want to settle your case. The severity of injuries is shown by objective proof such as number of times you have went to a doctor for treatment, the kinds of therapies you had, what your diagnostic tests (MRI’s, Xrays or CT Scans) show. The third factor is your venue or where your trial is located. Certain courtrooms are more pro-plaintiff and others are pro-defendant. Usually in urban areas juries are more sympathetic to the injured where suburban juries are usually less sympathetic. The fourth factor is the insurance company. Certain insurance companies are known to pay out and certain insurance companies are known to always try cases. The fifth factor is how you will present yourself in front of a jury. In other words are you able to clearly explain what happened to you and what kind of treatments you went through? Lastly. who your lawyer is and what his/her track record can make a difference in the amount of your settlement.
So now you want to settle… how much should you settle for?
Your lawyer should explain to you the value of your case and values of similiar cases in your jurisdiction. In this way you and your lawyer can agree on a certain settlement range and you know what you can expect. While every case is different usually similiar jurors from similiar courthouses come up with similar results.
When should you settle?
Patience is a virtue in negotiations and usually the closer that you push the case to trial the more likely your case will settle. The more desperate you are the worse your settlement will be. In other words more patience you have more money you will receive.