After being hurt in an accident, you can file a claim to recover compensation from the at-fault party. At some point while filing your claim, you will likely have to consider whether you should settle with the insurance company or take your case to trial. Settling your case means reaching an agreement with the at-fault party and their insurance company while going to trial means arbitrators or jury will make the final decision in your case.
The majority of personal injury cases settle out of court. In fact, according to the American Judges Association, fewer than three percent of personal injury cases make it to trial. So, what are the benefits of settling your case?
Settlements Guarantee Compensation
When you take your case to trial, there is no guarantee that a judge or jury will find in your favor. They may decide that your own negligence caused the accident, which will result in you getting nothing. Or, they may find that the other party caused the accident, but that you also contributed to it, which could greatly reduce the amount of compensation you receive. In contrast, settling with the insurance company and the at-fault party will guarantee that you receive compensation that can help offset the financial burden of your injuries.
Trials are Expensive
There are a lot of costs associated with going to trial and you will not incur these costs when you settle your case. During a trial, your case may rely on expert witnesses, preparing evidence, and more. A personal injury lawyer will have the resources necessary to strengthen your case, but the costs will be passed down to you. Settling your case does not incur nearly as many costs so any compensation you receive will be reduced by much less than if you go to trial.
Trials are Time-Consuming
In the best of cases, your case will take several months to get scheduled for trial or arbitration. There is also always the chance that your case could take years to be scheduled. During this time, you will not receive any compensation and will have to pay for expenses such as your medical bills out of your own pocket. Even after the jury or arbitrators makes their decision, the defendant may appeal, which will result in you waiting even longer. Settling your case will ensure you receive the money much sooner, and many cases settle before a lawsuit is ever filed in court.
Settling is Not Always the Best Option
Agreeing to a settlement offer does have many benefits, but that does not mean it is always the best option. Sometimes, insurance companies and negligent parties refuse to offer a fair settlement that will fully cover the cost of your injuries, lost income, and more. When this is the case, going to trial or arbitration may be the only way you will recover the full damages you deserve. This is why it is so important to work with a personal injury lawyer even before your case goes to court. An attorney will advise on whether a settlement agreement is fair, or if you should take the case to trial.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania Can Provide the Legal Advice You Need
After an accident, you are trying to recover from your injuries and you have a lot on your mind. You should not have to determine on your own whether you should settle or take your case to trial, too. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our knowledgeable Philadelphia personal injury lawyers can help. We will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, advise on the settlements they offer, and recommend when it is time to take your case to trial. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.