Settling A Personal Injury Case vs Going To Court
The vast majority of personal injury cases are able to settle outside of court. Still, even with the best negotiations and case details, there are a number of cases where you (with the help of your attorney) and the insurance company will not come to an agreement on the value of your case. If this occurs, you may need to have your case litigated- to have it go to court. If your case is headed in this direction, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Fact #1: Filing a lawsuit extends the timeline of your case: First, having a case go to court, meaning a lawsuit has been filed, will extend the length of your case by easily a year or more. Although this may seem like a long time, it very well may be worth it if the end result is a verdict much greater than what you would have received if you agreed to the settlement.
- Fact #2: It changes WHO places the value on your case: Second, by having a case go to court, you are taking power away from the insurance company and placing it into the hands of six jurors. Whether this is advisable depends on the details of your case, and it is highly recommended you consult with your attorney on the pros and cons of going to court with your specific case.
- Fact #3: It will require more involvement from you with the attorney: Third, expect to be involved in the process during the timeline of a lawsuit. This may mean that you will have to attend depositions, where the opposing attorney will be able to question you. You will also likely attend a mediation and have to answer certain litigation-related documents. Although these activities may seem intimidating, they should not be a problem if you have an experienced attorney working with you every step of the way.
- Fact #4: It affects your attorney’s fees & costs: Lastly, when a case goes to court, your attorney’s fees slightly go up, but so does your potential payout from the verdict of the case. Attorney fees increase because the law firm has to pour in a significant more amount of time and energy into your case. Do not hesitate to ask your attorney about the specifics of what fees and costs you should expect by going to court.
Overall, every personal injury case is different, which is why it is crucial to consult with an attorney as to whether it is advisable to go to court and what to expect. Most cases can settle outside of court, but not all. An attorney can better advise you as to whether your case should do one or the other.