When to Litigate and Settle Your Case
Whether you take your claim to court or settle your case before a trial can make a big difference financially. At The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani, we’re always looking out for our clients’ best interests. We’ll take all the facts of your claim into consideration during a free consultation. But here are some questions we often get from personal injury clients wanting to know when to settle a lawsuit or go to court.
Why Should I Go to Trial?
A trial can be a long, stressful process, but a verdict in your favor can result in a big payout. Depositions, expert witness accounts, and other pre-trial discovery steps can help put a complex case together. But whether this is the best approach can be determined by your attorney. Going to trial may not be necessary if the plaintiff’s injuries and defendant’s liability are rather obvious and a legal challenge won’t reveal any new facts.
When Is Litigation the Right Option?
If the investigation showed no findings of extreme negligence, a verdict could increase the damages awarded, or the plaintiff’s attorney makes unusually high demands, a trial may be necessary. Other reasons to consider litigation include when the damages alleged don’t match up with the incident. A plaintiff’s unfounded claims or their attorney’s presentation of unclear details can be reviewed at trial as well.
A jury’s perspective of a case can also be influenced by claims of emotional distress or trauma to a plaintiff or their family. If similar cases have resulted in large verdicts, you could potentially get a similar amount.
When to Litigate and Settle Your Case
Which Makes More Financial Sense?
If your attorney has a contingency fee arrangement, they’ll get around 40% of the damages awarded at trial. However, they’ll receive roughly 33% of a pre-trial settlement if both parties come to an agreement out of court. Defendants are often more open to settling as, for them, hiring an attorney requires paying an hourly fee. This can be quite expensive as lawsuits take a bit of time. The earlier the case settles, the less expensive it will be for both parties.
How Do I Gain More Through Settlement?
You might receive a settlement offer of $15,000 and get more than if you take a $25,000 claim to court. That’s because a significant portion of the amount will go towards court and attorney fees. Since less time and effort are typically involved in settling, you may end up with more cash in your pocket.
Can Settling a Case Actually Save Time?
A personal injury trial usually doesn’t last more than a few days. However, it requires a lot of preparation, while taking the witness stand for examination and cross-examination can be very stressful. The jury’s verdict may not end the process. The other side can decide to appeal, possibly resulting in a retrial. Oftentimes a trial doesn’t start for a year or more after you file the lawsuit, and the complications above can extend the process for years.
How Do I Keep My Case from Going Public?
The details of a case that goes to trial remain on public record, potentially impacting the defendant’s and/or plaintiff’s reputation. A rare exception is if the judge orders the records to be sealed. But usually, the evidence, testimony, and strategies used to denigrate each side can be read by anyone. Settling out of court keeps the details of the case and terms of the settlement private. Whether anything goes public is determined by the parties involved.
If I Settle, Can I Still Prove the Defendant Is Guilty?
When a defendant loses a trial, they become liable for the harm they caused the plaintiff. This isn’t really the case with a settlement. You won’t fulfill a desire to prove their guilt, but you will get a payout. After settling, the at-fault party won’t have a record of negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
How Do I Proceed If the Defendant Is a Friend, Family Member, or Business Associate?
Your relationship to the other party can help decide when to settle a lawsuit. Litigation can destroy relationships and hurt someone’s well-being and reputation. In agreeing to settle rather than go to trial, you can usually get something out of the deal and preserve important relationships in your life.
How Is a Fair Settlement Reached?
Effective settlement strategies that can lead to higher payouts include:
- Putting money on the table to sway the plaintiff’s point of view, and assuring the dollars will be available soon after the agreement is made.
- Setting up a mediation in which the mediator is reputed to be impartial. Learn the plaintiff’s motives and what they’d likely spend the settlement money on to try to accommodate their needs.
- Opting for a structured settlement, which can lead to an agreement that benefits both sides.
Contact The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani
If you’re still undecided whether to litigate or settle a case, The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani can provide professional legal advice and representation. The answer isn’t always easy. But we’ve fought and won many cases and have awarded millions of dollars in settlements. To schedule your free consultation and get on the path to being compensated for your personal injury, call 888-952-2952 today!
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