If you have sustained injuries in an accident, it’s important to consider all of your options for recovering the compensation you need to recover fully. However, it’s also essential to consider the specific facts of your situation when determining what action you want to take for recovering damages. This consideration makes working with an injury attorney crucial, even if you’re open to the idea of settling the case.
Only a small percent of personal injury cases ever make it to opening statements in court. The most common result of a personal injury case is to settle before the case goes to trial. There are good reasons why the vast majority of personal injury victims decide to settle out of court. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of settling your personal injury claim out of court.
Settling Lowers Legal Costs
Going to trial is almost always more expensive than settling your case. You have to pay witnesses for their time and travel. Expert witnesses can cost hundreds of dollars an hour.
You even have to pay a fee if you want a jury to hear your case. All of these expenses can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. If you settle, you avoid many of these costs and keep more dollars in your pocket. This idea is especially important when you consider that your compensation is designed to ensure you are made whole after sustaining injuries in an accident.
It’s Less Stressful
Walking into a courtroom is stressful no matter how prepared you are. Even if you don’t plan to testify, the other side can call you to the stand. You’ll spend long days sitting at the table with your attorney while the case unfolds.
There are tense moments of objections, motions, opening and closing statements and the long wait for the jury to make their decision. When you settle outside of court, you get to skip all of these things. This should be taken into consideration in regards to being able to recover both mentally and physically as the stress of the trial can put a strain on your recovery.
Preparation Takes Time and Effort
Settling the case streamlines the legal process. When you go to court, you have to track down witnesses. You have to interview them carefully to lock down their statements. You must review their testimony to decide if you want to call them at trial. If you choose to call them to the witness stand, you have to make sure they receive a subpoena and that they know when and where to be on court day.
You have to repeat this process for every piece of evidence. This means requesting documents, noticing depositions and preparing interrogatories. There are many things to do as you build your case for trial. Even with a great lawyer, this process can be tedious. You need a lot of wherewithal to persevere through this tiring process.
When you settle outside of court, there’s still important work to be done to prepare your case. However, it’s not as intense as going to trial. When you sign a settlement agreement, your work is done. The only thing left to do is file the settlement paperwork with the court and collect your compensation.
Trials Are Unpredictable
Even if you have the best personal injury case ever, your case is still in the hands of the jury. Although juries receive clear instructions on the law, their decisions can be surprising and unpredictable. You might walk into court expecting to get an agreeable result only to leave disappointed when things don’t go your way. In court, there are no guarantees.
When you settle out of court, you know the outcome. You know exactly what the judgment says. You can go over it with your attorney and make sure that you fully understand the terms. This can help you manage your risk as you work to get the best possible outcome in your case.
Trials Take Time
One thing that is predictable about a trial is the significant amount of time that it takes to bring the case to trial. When you take your case to trial, the trial itself may take several days. The court sets your trial dates, and you might have to wait months for the court to have the available time to hear your case.
These waits and delays can make your case take several months longer than it might take if you settle. Also, when you settle your case, you can shorten the time that the other side has to pay you the amount of the judgment. The result could be dollars in your pocket much sooner than you may have gotten them if you waited to take your case to trial.
Nevada courts are public record. That means anyone can walk into court and look at what’s going on. Anyone can review a transcript of a court proceeding. As long as a question is relevant, it’s fair game. That can mean having to answer uncomfortable questions about your personal life.
When you settle outside of court, the only thing that’s made public are the terms of the settlement. You don’t have to make your medical history or other private details a matter of public record. You don’t have to worry about who’s going to look into the details or what personal information you’ll have to expose to the world.
A Settlement Is More Likely To Be Final Than a Verdict
While you may be able to undo a settlement because of fraud or a mutual mistake, reversing a settlement is hard for either side to do. In the vast majority of cases, a settlement is the final judgment in the case. If a case goes to trial, both parties have the opportunity to bring an appeal.
An appeal can last for several months past the original trial date. The case may even go to the Supreme Court of Nevada. For victims that want to resolve their case and collect a judgment, a settlement is often the fastest way to arrive at an enforceable judgment that the other side can’t continue to fight.
How Can I Maximize My Settlement?
Until you have a signed settlement agreement, you should keep preparing your case as though you’re going to trial. If the other side doesn’t think that you’re serious about going to trial if you need to, they might not offer you a fair settlement.
Sometimes, your best bet is to go to trial. The other side may not be willing to offer you a fair settlement. Your experienced personal injury attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons and make the best possible choice for your case. It’s important to keep all of your options open and seek expert advice to ensure you make the best decision that will allow you to get the compensation you need to make a successful recovery.