We know that the last thing you ever expected was that you would sustain an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity. However, if you do sustain an injury, it is important that you work with an attorney so you can obtain compensation for your losses.
Unfortunately, the personal injury claims process can be confusing. People often ask us whether or not they should settle their claim or pursue the wrongdoers all the way to court.
Here, we want to discuss the pros and cons of these decisions so that you are better informed about which process may be best for you. Please do not make these decisions on your own. A skilled personal injury attorney in Orange County can help you make these through this process.
The Pros and Cons of Settling Your California Personal Injury Claim
There are certainly various reasons why it would be beneficial to settle a claim before going to court. However, there are also many reasons why a settlement may not be in your best interest. As we go through these pros and cons, we do want to point out that the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before they go to trial.
- Pro 1. The reality is that a settlement is going to occur in a much shorter time frame than a personal injury trial. On average, a settlement will take three to six months to conclude (though this time frame can certainly be expanded for various reasons). However, if a person proceeds to a personal injury trial, this time frame could take twice as long. Additionally, settlements are usually less expensive and less stressful than a full injury trial.
- Pro 2. When you are going through the settlement process, you and your attorney will generally steer the process through the negotiations. You and your attorney have the ability to accept or deny any settlement offer it comes through. You can negotiate to receive a better settlement. At a trial, you lose this power because the judge or the jury will be in charge.
- Con 1. When you accept a personal injury settlement, there is a good chance that you will receive less money than you would have received if you took the case to court. Your attorney will help you decide whether or not going to trial is worth the additional time and expense.
- Con 2. Personal injury settlements are permanent. After you accept a settlement, the case is completely over with. Even if injuries worsen over time or if new injuries are discovered, there will be no way to go back and renegotiate the deal.
The Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
There are various reasons ways in which a person could benefit by taking their personal injury case all the way to trial. However, please understand that the personal injury trial process is complicated, and we strongly encourage you to work with a skilled attorney when making these decisions.
- Pro 1. Individuals who take their injury case to trial have the potential to receive much more compensation than they would otherwise receive if they accept a settlement.
- Pro 2. Winning a trial does indeed give people a better sense of justice for the situation. In a trial, if the injury victim is successful, the defendant will be found guilty and ordered to pay money to the plaintiff. In a settlement, the defendant never has to admit any guilt.
- Con 1. Trials can take a long time to conclude. These can be long, drawn-out, and expensive processes that bring incredible stress to those involved.
- Con 2. You run the risk of not winning anything at trial. Just like you can receive much more compensation at a trial, there is a chance the defendant will be found not guilty for causing the injury, and no payment will have to be made. At this point, it will be too late to go back and try to reach a settlement.
Regardless of the route you choose to take for your personal injury claim, please work with a skilled attorney who can help you through this entire process. An attorney will have the resources and experience necessary to help you make the best decision moving forward.