Many assume that all legal cases end up in court. But personal injury cases are similar to other civil cases in that the resolution is often worked out with the help of attorneys before the trial begins or before it concludes. Depending on circumstances, victims may be offered a settlement before they file a suit.
An insurance company usually offers a settlement for such disputes as medical malpractice or motor vehicle crashes, or the defendant may pay. While it often involves a cash settlement for lost current or future wages, related medical expenses, as well as pain and suffering. At other times, the desired resolution involves terminating actions that somehow caused harm to the victim.
Why settle out of court
Each case is different, and the details can indicate the best approach for resolving the matter, but it is often best for the plaintiff to settle outside of court. The reasons for this include:
- Less stress: Court cases can involve a lot of stress and conflict, which can hamper the healing process.
- Less control over the process: The attorney will generally have an educated opinion of how the case will proceed, but there is no telling what the judge and jury will decide. Plus, those offered a settlement may not win the case in court.
- Less time: Cases can take months or years, with the potential for appeals adding more time, so some find it better to move on.
- Less cost: Personal injury attorneys only get paid if they win a settlement, but there are additional costs like hiring expert witnesses, paying for their travel and their lodging.
- Privacy: Trials are a matter of public record, and even sealed records can later become unsealed. Moreover, it can be awkward or uncomfortable for some to have their private affairs splashed across the news.
Plan for a new future
Personal injury cases will often involve severe trauma from which victims never fully recover. However, settlements help put closure on these events while also providing financial support so victims and their families can move forward with their lives.