During your DC personal injury claim, you may hear your lawyer talk about a settlement versus a trial. These are two different legal processes. You do not receive a settlement by going to trial. Rather, they are two ways to potentially resolve your case. The vast majority of personal injury claims resolve via settlements, but some require trials to achieve fair results. Understanding the difference between a settlement and a trial can help you determine which route may be best for your particular claim.
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A settlement refers to resolving a claim through the insurance claims process alone. A settlement is an amount of money an insurance provider offers to resolve a dispute with a claimant. An insurance settlement means you, the accident victim, agree not to take the case to court in exchange for a fair sum from the insurance company for your losses. Typically, a settlement will be an amount that falls within the defendant’s insurance policy limits. You have the right to negotiate a settlement offer with an insurance company until you both agree on a fair sum.
A personal injury trial is the next step you may take if settlement negotiations do not work. If your negotiations with the insurance company still fail to result in an amount you or your lawyer believe is fair to make up for your losses, you can take your case to trial. A trial involves a judge and/or jury making the final call rather than negotiations being between you and the insurance claims adjuster alone. Both parties will present their cases before the judge or jury, then wait for the final verdict. You may need to take your case directly to trial if the insurance company denies your claim from the start.
Most personal injury claimants prefer settlements over trials. Settlements are faster and cheaper than going to court with a case. However, settlements are not always possible – nor are they always the best option for the client depending on the case. A Fairfax personal injury attorney can help you figure out which route is most appropriate according to your injuries, needs and goals.
An insurance settlement will generally yield compensation for lost wages, medical bills and property repairs. With a successful trial, on the other hand, you could also receive compensation for pain and suffering, legal fees, punitive damages and more. Yet what you may give up in compensation during a settlement you could gain in the swiftness, ease and control that comes with settling. Each option has different risks and benefits. Discuss your case in more detail with an attorney to figure out which path might be right for you.