Personal injury lawsuits, like many other forms of legal action, are often settled before anyone sets foot in a courtroom. Taking a lawsuit to trial can be expensive and time-consuming, as well emotionally draining for both plaintiff and defendant. Therefore, settling can be of great advantage to both parties.
At Glacier Law Firm, we have years of experience working on workers compensation and personal injury cases, both inside and outside of the courtroom. Here, we’ll walk you through why settling may be a good option for you in your workers compensation or personal injury case.
Trials May Hurt Your Wallet
Most trials take up a good amount of time, both before they begin and during the actual courtroom process. And for defendants, that means hours and hours billed by their lawyer. Even in a fairly short trial, these expenses add up quickly. And these won’t be the only costs if you choose to go to trial. Expert witnesses cost money too, and there can be additional expenses related to travel and lost income from days spent in court.
In the case of the plaintiff, they typically have a contingency fee arrangement with their lawyer. This means that the lawyer will receive a certain percentage of whatever the client is paid. This is often ⅓ of any pre-trial settlement, and 40% of anything received from trial. Therefore, it is often in the plaintiff’s interest to settle, even if they aren’t paying hourly legal fees.
A trial case will quickly become expensive for all involved- but especially for defendants, who are usually paying their lawyers by the hour. There is a lengthy process that must be undertaken before both sides can begin the trial. This involves depositions, which can take a great deal of time. If you’re a defendant, that means money is leaving your pocket by the hour.
And even plaintiffs not paying by the hour may have to shell out to pay expert witness fees before the trial begins. Some attorneys will offer to pay pre-trial expenses, often deducting the cost from any amount won at trial. However, some lawyers won’t offer to do this, meaning you could have to pay a significant amount of money before your trial even begins.
Trials Take Their Toll
Although it can be tempting to go to trial if you believe you are in the right, this should not be undertaken lightly. Trials are hard on everyone involved. Speaking on the stand is stressful, as well as being examined and cross-examined. Lawyers will attack your character and In many cases, a settlement can save both parties many of the pains of being dragged through the trial process, without getting a significantly worse result for either party.
Trials are often stressful on family members as well. They can put strain on personal relationships and cause difficulties at work. Spending long days in a courtroom can be taxing on even the most energetic of us. By settling, you can avoid many of these headaches,
Rolling the Dice
It’s hard to know what you’ll get if you choose to take your case to trial. Even if you believe your case is fairly clear cut, there is always a risk that the jury or judge will make things more complicated. Evidence that your legal team believes is crucial to your case could be excluded by the judge. Witnesses aren’t always predictable. And if you are a plaintiff, a poor performance on the stand could hurt you and your chances of getting the amount of money that you hope for.
If you are a plaintiff, there is the chance a jury will award you a payment significantly higher than what the defendant was willing to offer in a settlement. Or they may not. There’s always the risk of going to trial and paying the added legal fees only to receive an amount that is even lower than what was offered by the defendant before the trial.
If you choose to settle out of court, you’ll have more control of how payment is negotiated. This may mean less money, but this money is more certain, whereas any that may come from a trial is hard to predict.
Trials Take Time
Even if your case is a fairly simple one, it can take months or even years to fully resolve it. In most cases, the trial itself won’t begin until around a year after a claim is filed. And if one of the parties wins a case quickly, the other other side can appeal, adding months or years to an already long and stressful process.
A simple workers compensation case can take around four years to pay out to the plaintiff. That’s years without receiving money that you may need, all while incurring added legal expenses. Depending on how much money is on the table from a settlement, the added time and cost of going to court may not be worth it for you and your family.
At Glacier Law, we can help you make the difficult decision of whether or not to proceed to trial by weighing all of the evidence of your case.
Protecting Your Privacy
One major advantage of settlements is that they are private. The two parties have complete control over what details from the case can be released, even up to the amount that was settled upon.
In the event of a trial, everything is public record unless the judge decides to seal the records, quite uncommon in workers compensation cases. This means that anything used by either party in the trial is available to anyone who wants to read it. Cases that went to trial years ago can come back up to haunt people. If you settle, it can often be easier to move past the whole process.
If you are a defendant, a significant advantage of settlements over trials is that they do not force you to admit liability. This means you have no public record of wrongdoing or negligence, unlike a trial case settled in the plaintiff’s favor.
In the case of a plaintiff, this might not be appealing. You may want the defendant to publicly admit that they are liable. However, you must weigh this against the financial and emotional costs of bringing a case to trial.
Fighting for What’s Yours
We know that you’ll want to fight for every dollar that you are owed. That’s why at Glacier Law we can help you make the best legal decision to get you the money you are owed, whether through a settlement or proceeding to trial.
Deciding what legal action to take can be scary and stressful for you and your family. We walk you through your legal options so that you can get the money that you deserve. Picking the right legal team can be hard. That’s why we offer free case evaluations. Give us a call today or fill out our online consultation form to see what we can do for you.