Should I Settle or Go to Court for a Personal Injury Claim?
At Case Barnett Law, we understand that taking legal action after a serious accident is daunting. Many accident victims feel overwhelmed and fail to take action, missing out on compensation. Don’t let that be you—call us at (949) 409-0055 to explore your options.
In the wake of a severe injury, you may find that the world looks different. Your priorities have shifted, and resources like time and energy now seem more precious. As a result, you may decide not to pursue compensation for your injuries—especially if you’re misinformed about the process.
Even if it makes sense to you at the time, deciding not to take legal action can be a critical mistake and one that you regret down the line. Your recovery may become more expensive than anticipated and leave you in a precarious financial situation that could have been avoided by soliciting help from a legal expert.
Our leading Orange County personal injury attorney team understands that choosing to take legal action is a big decision. If you’re unsure about how to proceed, you’re not alone. Most of our clients come to us with the same first question: Should I settle or go to court?
After thoroughly reviewing your case details, we’ll outline your options and help you choose the best path forward. Whether settling with the insurance company, preparing for litigation, or finding an alternative resolution, we’ll fight for your maximum compensation.
Keep reading to learn more about settling vs. going to court, including the pros and cons of each and how an experienced legal expert can help protect your future.
Has an accident injured you, left you in medical debt, and discouraged about the future? Don’t let the possibility of going to court stop you from pursuing the settlement you deserve. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with a compassionate attorney today.
Understanding the Personal Injury Claim Process
Any worthwhile comparison starts with understanding the nature of what’s being compared. You don’t have to be an expert in personal injury law, but you need a firm grasp on at least a few fundamentals.
A personal injury claim arises when someone suffers physical, financial, or emotional damages due to someone else’s negligent actions.
To seek compensation, you’ll need to establish the at-fault party’s liability. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you’ve suffered losses due to the at-fault party’s negligence.
Personal injury claims can be settled outside of court by agreeing with the opposing party or their insurance company. They can also be taken to court as a personal injury lawsuit. Either way, the injury victim has an opportunity to recoup compensation; however, the process and possible outcome can vary significantly between the two.
Pros and Cons of Settling Outside of Court
Most people don’t realize that most pending lawsuits are settled outside court during the pre-trial phase. Insurance companies are typically reluctant to go to court, so partnering with an experienced litigator can increase your chances of a favorable pre-trial settlement.
Here are some of the most notable advantages of settling outside of court:
- Cost and time efficiency. Going to court can be a time-consuming, potentially costly process; as a result, some injury victims prefer to settle outside of court.
- Certainty and resolution. When you leave the fate of your case up to the court, there’s no guarantee they’ll rule in your favor, especially if your case is less than airtight. Although settling outside of court may not net as much compensation as you deserve, yo
- Privacy. Settlements reached outside of court are typically private, meaning your name, award amount, and other potentially sensitive information are shielded from the public.
Make no mistake: Settling outside of court is the right decision for many people. However, it also comes with some significant drawbacks, including the following:
- Lower compensation. Insurance companies are businesses, so they rarely pay out fair settlements on their own accord. You can secure a much larger settlement by pursuing compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
- Limited recourse. Accepting a settlement offer from the opposing party may be your quickest path to compensation. Still, it also means you generally can’t reopen your case in the future—even if you discover additional damages.
Ultimately, the decision to settle outside of court isn’t one you should make lightly. The best way to ensure you’re making the right choice and covering all of your bases is by collaborating with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Going to Court?
If you decide to press forward with litigation, you may be able to reap certain benefits you wouldn’t have otherwise. The following are some of the most distinct advantages provided by taking your personal injury claim to court:
- Potentially larger settlement. You can pursue economic and non-economic damages when you take your personal injury claim to court. In addition to compensation for financial losses, the court may award damages for pain and suffering, lost enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, and more.
- Discovery process. Litigation allows you to engage in discovery, meaning your attorney will have time to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a rock-solid case. They may uncover crucial details about your accident, leading to a higher settlement amount.
- Justice. For many personal injury victims, compensation isn’t enough to bring them peace about the situation—they want the at-fault party to be held accountable. Taking them to court can hold the person who hurt you responsible and dissuade them from future negligent actions.
Although litigation can offer substantial benefits—including a larger settlement—it isn’t suitable for everyone. Here are some of the potential downsides of taking your claim to court:
- Longer process. Whereas you may be able to get a settlement offer from the insurance company relatively quickly, pursuing your claim in court takes time. That’s why some injury victims who need immediate funds opt to settle outside court.
- Uncertain outcome. When you settle outside of court, you’re guaranteed something, even if it’s less than what you deserve. In contrast, there’s always a chance the court could rule against your claim and leave you without compensation.
- Costs and fees. Depending on the particulars of your case, you may end up paying court, expert witness, and attorney fees that you wouldn’t have otherwise been responsible for.
The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question: Should I settle or go to court? Fortunately, a personal injury lawyer can point you in the right direction.