Personal Injury Case Trials & Settlements: Which is Better?

Filing a personal injury claim with the help of an attorney can be an immediate sense of relief for people seeking justice and compensation after being wrongfully injured by a negligent party. The first step is often the most difficult to complete. But the beginning is just that: the start of what could be a lengthy process. After you file your personal injury claim and make the negligent party aware of your damages, what happens next? Will your personal injury case go to trial? Or, will it be settled out of court?

Settlements are the Norm

It is quite rare for a personal injury case to not end in an out-of-court settlement. In many cases, the negligent party just needs to be shown three things: strong evidence of their liability, a reasonable compensation request, and the presence of a personal injury lawyer to show that the plaintiff is serious about the claim. After those factors are put into place or made known, settlement options are usually explored.

Overall, settlements are better for both the plaintiff and the defendant. A settlement usually resolves much faster than a trial and keeps the entire thing out of the public’s view, letting both parties stay under a welcome blanket of privacy; bringing something to court makes court records, which are always open to the public. With a strong personal injury attorney working the claim, settlements will usually result in an amount that accounts for all of the plaintiff’s damages, as if it had been granted by a court’s judge.

When a Trial is Necessary

If settlements are beneficial, comparatively simple, and make up the vast majority of personal injury claim conclusions, then why do any cases go to court? It is a fair question. Court procedures can be extended and expensive for both sides, so avoiding the court should and often is a priority.

However, the court’s final verdict or ruling can be the only option in certain situations, such as:

  • Defendant refuses to consider making a settlement, perhaps out of stubbornness.
  • Plaintiff does not create convincing argument or the case lacks strong evidence, making the defendant believe they can win a trial instead of settling.
  • Complicated circumstances surrounding the accident or incident make deciding liability extremely difficult, and neither side is confident that a settlement will be fair or accurate.
  • Multiple plaintiffs are harmed by the same event or product, resulting in a mass tort or class action that is filed as a lawsuit to bring the public’s attention to the issue.
  • All settlement attempts fail and the case is not dropped by the plaintiff.

Additionally, court rulings or jury verdicts in favor of the plaintiff are statistically – but not guaranteed to be – higher than a settlement for a near-identical claim. For plaintiffs that are not offered an adequate settlement amount, or if they believe they require ample nominal damages for pain and suffering, pressing for a case before the court might be in their best interest.

Professional Advocacy for the People of Southern California

Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. is proud to offer personal injury representation to our clients throughout Murrieta and the surrounding regions. We can manage a wide variety of cases, from car accidents to dog bites to wrongful death claims. Set up your free initial consultation by contacting our office, and we can talk about whether your case should be settled or brought to court.


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