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Why Most Personal Injury Claims Settle Out of Court


If you were injured in a car or truck accident, or while visiting someone else's property, and you've been forced to contend with damages, such as medical bills and lost income, you're probably thinking that you have no choice but to file a lawsuit.

When thinking about a lawsuit, the first thing that comes to mind may be a full-blown trial. After all, you're anticipating a legal battle.

Believe it or not, the vast majority of personal injury claims do not go to trial. In fact, upwards of 90% settle through negotiations, and there is a very good reason for this.

Taking a personal injury case to trial is very expensive, therefore, it's usually better for both sides to agree on a settlement. A settlement is faster and far more cost-effective than taking a case to trial.

Advantages of a Settlement

When an injured person files a personal injury suit, they are called the "plaintiff" and the at-fault party is called the "defendant." That said, here are the reasons why the plaintiff and the defendant benefit by reaching a fair settlement as soon as possible:

Defendants usually pay their attorneys out of pocket. They also have to pay for lengthy depositions, accident reconstructions, expert witnesses etc. These costs add up fast. Not only that but juries are unpredictable, so defendants don't know how a court trial will turn out.

Defendants save a lot of time and money if they are able to reach a negotiated settlement rather than going to trial.

While plaintiffs may have a contingency fee arrangement with their attorney where they don't have to pay their lawyer unless they win, that doesn't mean that they don't benefit from a settlement.

When a plaintiff reaches a settlement or wins a jury trial, people still have to be paid. That means that the attorney fees, medical bills and expert witnesses etc. are all paid out of the settlement or jury award. So, for the plaintiff a settlement is usually more cost-effective than a trial.

Benefits of reaching a settlement:

  • Jury trials are unpredictable
  • Settlements are faster than trials
  • Settlements cost less than trials
  • There is no guarantee that a jury would award more
  • A trial can drag on for months or years
  • Settlements are a lot less stressful

While the vast majority of personal injury claims never make it to trial, there are a handful of cases where a trial is more appropriate. This happens when the opposing party refuses to accept responsibility or when they stick to a low-ball offer, one that is unfair to the plaintiff.

Looking for a Columbia personal injury lawyer? Contact Masella Law Firm, schedule a personal case evaluation with an experienced member of our legal team.

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