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Understanding the Differences Between Trial and Settlement

Posted on 11/27/23 by admin in Personal Injury

Many professions and vocations are subject to common misconceptions about what their work actually entails. This is often shaped by the media and popular entertainment. Contrary to what TV dramas tell you, police are very rarely involved in car chases, steamy professional romances are generally frowned upon in emergency medicine, and personal injury lawyers don’t go to court all that often. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, only somewhere between three and four percent of personal injury cases actually reach trial. So what happens to the remainder? They’re settled out of court. Today we’ll be comparing and contrasting a civil trial and settlement out of court. The best path forward may surprise you!personal injury trial

What is a Personal Injury Trial?

In a personal injury trial, representatives of an injured person and a person or corporate entity alleged to be at fault for the injury argue their side of the incident before a judge and jury. This process is broken into distinct stages, including selecting the jury, making opening statements, hearing witness testimony, and the eventual jury decision, or verdict.

What is a Settlement?

A settlement is reached when a dispute is resolved before the case can go to a formal trial. This practice is highly flexible. It’s not uncommon for a settlement to be reached before a formal lawsuit is even filed. It’s even possible to reach a settlement on the very day a personal injury trial is set to begin! Generally, a settlement is reached when the injured party (or plaintiff’s) representatives send a demand letter to the defendant, their lawyer, or their insurance provider. This letter will generally include damages sought in monetary terms, backed up by legal justifications for the damages and relevant documentation such as medical bills and police reports. This initial list of demands can then form the basis for settlement negotiations.

trial and settlement

Why Do Most Cases Settle Out of Court?

In a word? Expediency. The necessary legwork to even get to a trial can take years! It’s also important to understand that a trial can take weeks or months to reach a resolution once it’s begun. Trials are notoriously expensive, unpredictable, and stressful for all parties involved.

In the wake of an accident resulting in serious injury, the average person needs relief as fast as it can arrive. They need the damages sought in their case to pay medical bills, repair or replace damaged property, and make up for lost wages and emotional distress. Settling out of court as quickly as an agreeable settlement can be reached gets injured persons the just compensation to which they are entitled as quickly as possible.

When Should You Go to Court?

Every accident and injury is unique, and therefore every personal injury case will be unique as well. Going to court may result in a significantly larger amount of compensation compared to an out of court settlement. But even a bigger settlement may not be worth the court costs and attorney’s fees. This is where the expertise of a personal injury attorney can be crucial. Their professional experience and dedicated staff will be able to calculate the best path towards maximum compensation on your behalf.

Settlement negotiations

How Malloy Law Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You may find yourself drowning in paperwork, with bills piling up and a return to normalcy seemingly nowhere in sight. Don’t face the aftermath of your injury alone. Malloy Law Offices is proud to employ an experienced and diverse team of attorneys. We pride ourselves on an empathetic culture that put the needs of our clients first. We’ll use all our expertise to craft a winning strategy that works for you. Contact us today to get started.