If you’re considering pursuing a personal injury claim after an accident, you’re likely curious about your options. While some personal injury claims result in a settlement, others go to court for a trial and verdict. It is important to know how each of these processes works and how you can figure out which option is better for your case.
Ready to start your personal injury claim and pursue compensation? Let us help. Call The Dodd Law Firm at 475-275-8649 to set up a meeting with our Cheshire, CT personal injury lawyers.
Understanding Personal Injury Settlements
A personal injury claim is likely to lead to a settlement. A settlement is an agreement that is negotiated by both the injured party and the negligent party. In most situations, the negligent party is represented by their insurance provider. In exchange for an agreed-upon settlement amount, the victim agrees to waive their right to sue and drop their claim. The amount of compensation offered in the settlement should be enough to cover the victim’s losses, although there is substantial room for negotiation. The case never goes to court or is handled by a judge.
The Verdict Process
Not every personal injury claim yields a fair settlement. If the parties cannot agree on a number, negotiations may end and the wronged party may decide to pursue a lawsuit. The victim sues the liable party and presents their case in front of a judge and jury. This involves a substantial amount of prep work, including the various aspects of discovery and building a case. After both parties present their side, the judge or jury evaluates the evidence and determines if the defendant is liable or not. They also decide how much compensation the plaintiff receives.
Key Differences Between Settlements and Verdicts
Numerous important differences highlight the wide gap between settlements and verdicts in personal injury cases:
- Control: During settlement negotiations, both parties retain some control over the process. Of course, you can’t control what the negligent party offers or how quickly they agree to negotiate, but you can decide whether or not you accept what they offer. On the other hand, both parties are bound to a judge’s or jury’s decision.
- Timing: Settlements are generally secured fairly quickly, as both parties want to avoid dragging out the process. The negligent party in particular wants to avoid the risk of a lawsuit. However, taking your case to court and waiting for a verdict takes much longer. Both parties have to investigate, go through discovery, build their cases, and prepare for the other side’s counterpoints. It can take months for a case to go to trial, and during that time the victim’s medical bills and other expenses are mounting.
- Privacy: A settlement negotiated informally between two parties is private. While you do sign legal documents to waive your right to sue and accept the settlement amount, no parts of your case are public record. There’s no worry of your case getting picked up by a news channel or being exposed by a nosy family member.
- Certainty: When you accept a settlement, it is guaranteed that the other side will pay that much. It may not be as much as you could get in court, but if your case goes to court, you aren’t guaranteed to get anything. In court, you take a bigger risk for the potential of a bigger payout. With a settlement, you get the security of a guaranteed payout in exchange for accepting less than you could get in court.
Making the Best Choice for Your Claim
The majority of personal injury claims begin with settlement negotiations, and most end there. It’s the most cost-efficient and time-efficient solution for both parties. However, going to court may be necessary if the other side refuses to admit liability or offers a number that is far below what you deserve. If there’s no middle ground to be reached, a lawsuit is the next step.
Contact The Dodd Law Firm and Fight for the Compensation You Deserve
It is time to fight for your rights and demand the compensation you’re owed. To set up a consultation with our team, give us a call at 475-275-8649 or reach out online.