Litigation Versus Pre-Trial Settlement: Assessing the Pros and Cons

By Peter DePaolis

Experienced Injury Attorneys Discuss Litigation and Pre-trial Settlements for Clients in Washington, D.C.

Every personal injury case is different. Depending on the details of your case, it might be in your best interest to settle instead of go to court. However, it is always best to refer to your attorney’s judgment. An attorney will know if your case has a viable chance in court, or if the settlement that’s been offered is best.

The vast majority of personal injury claims are settled outside of court. This is because insurers and defense attorneys know that juries are unpredictable, and the costs of litigation will make a settlement much higher. Therefore, they may opt to negotiate and find a favorable settlement for both sides before the trial date.

The Benefits of an Out-of-Court Settlement

Settling before your court date is common. Before your trial date, your injury attorney and the opposing side will be in negotiations. There might be depositions and an exchange of evidence; then, the insurance company might propose a settlement. Negotiations typically go back and forth during this stage.

Even if your case has already started the trial phase, the other party may offer a settlement to stop the trial proceeding.

There are benefits to settling outside of court, including:

  • Time – You save time by settling outside of court, which means that you will receive your compensation faster. If you have compounding medical costs, if you are not working, and if you need money quickly, this is your best option.
  • Monetary Savings – Litigation is very costly for both sides. It will take countless hours and numerous staff members. While your attorney works on a contingency fee, the other side will consider the costs of litigation versus settling before trial.
  • Less Stress – The stress of a dispute can be taxing, especially when you are dealing with a permanent injury, the emotions of your injury, and more. Most personal injury trials will not take more than a few days, but the process is still taxing emotionally and mentally. Your character might be called into question, and loved ones will have to testify on your behalf. Settlements before trial eliminate the risk of stress entirely.
  • Unpredictable Conditions – Trials are highly unpredictable. No one knows how a judge or jury will rule, and no one can accurately predict the compensation that you might be rewarded. Therefore, if your attorney thinks the settlement offer is best, accepting the offer will ensure that you are not the victim of an unpredictable settlement in court.

The Advantages of Taking Your Case to Trial

Sometimes, you must go to trial. When insurance companies refuse to settle, or they continually offer a small settlement amount, your personal injury lawyer may feel that a trial is in your best interest. If you have powerful evidence against the other party, that evidence can be used to convince the jury to award the settlement that you need.

Were You Injured? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney to Explore Your Options

After an injury, it is imperative that you speak with a personal injury attorney. An injury lawyer can help you explore your compensation options, but also determine an approximate amount of compensation that you might receive. Furthermore, an attorney represents you during these critical negotiations to ensure that you receive the compensation deserved.

Contact an attorney from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP today at one of our three convenient office locations. You can also reach us online for a free case evaluation appointment.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.