One of the most difficult questions that personal injury victims face when they have a claim is whether to accept a settlement or take the case to trial. Many factors must be considered when deciding to settle a personal injury claim or go to trial. For the best possible outcome, the injured party should discuss these factors with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident in Baton Rouge caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, and need help receiving the compensation you deserve, call Dudley DeBosier. Our knowledgeable Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers can guide you through the process and help you decide if you should accept a settlement or take your case to trial.
What is a Settlement?
A settlement is a formal agreement between an injured party and the party at fault for their injuries (or the at-fault party’s insurance carrier) to resolve a personal injury claim. The parties can settle the claim at any time before or after the injured party files a lawsuit. However, most personal injury claims are settled well before a lawsuit has been filed.
What is a Personal Injury Trial?
A personal injury trial is a legal proceeding during which an injured party (the plaintiff) argues their claims before a judge or jury who ultimately decides if the at-fault party (the defendant) is liable to compensate the plaintiff for their damages.
Whether a Baton Rouge personal injury claim settles or goes to trial is entirely up to the injured party. The personal injury lawyer for the injured party may suggest what they think is best for their client to do, but it will ultimately be the injured party’s decision.
What follows are some key factors that must be considered when deciding whether to settle a New Orleans personal injury case or take it to trial.
The Advantages of Settling a Personal Injury Claim?
- Less Time: It is not uncommon for a trial to take anywhere from one to three years. Whereas a settlement can be obtained in as little as three to four months, depending on the nature of the injuries involved. It may take 12 – 18 months to settle if the case involves more severe injuries, but that is still considerably shorter than the time it might take to resolve the case in court.
- Less Costly: It is no secret that trials and litigation have become very expensive. Along with filing fees, discovery costs, and deposition costs, there are the costs of hiring expert witnesses to testify to the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and other issues. These costs can really add up when you take a case to trial. On the other hand, settling the case before trial means you avoid having to pay these costs.
- More Privacy: When a case goes to trial, many of the details involved become a matter of public record. If the details involved in the case are sensitive or personal to the injured party or their loved ones, they may want to settle the case so that those details, which may include the terms of the settlement, remain private.
- More Certainty: In a settlement, both parties know exactly what the result will be, and a settlement can be reached that is agreeable to both parties. But with a trial, no one knows precisely what the outcome will be. If you go to court, no matter how strong of a case you present, there is no telling how a judge or jury will decide. Even the strongest of cases, from a legal perspective, have been lost on juries. And even the best attorneys are sometimes unable to persuade judges on certain issues.
The Advantages of Taking a Personal Injury Claim to Trial?
- More Compensation: The injured party may recover more compensation by taking the case to court. For example, a sympathetic jury may award the injured party more compensation for pain and suffering, which insurance companies attempt to limit. Also, the injured party may be awarded punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages that are typically recovered in a settlement.
- Punitive Damages: These are a particular category of damages that can only be awarded by the court. These are damages awarded to punish the defendant for egregious conduct. If the defendant’s conduct was so egregious that there is a high likelihood of the plaintiff being awarded punitive damages, then there may be more incentive to take the case to trial.
- Having a Say in Court: By going to trial, the plaintiff can let the judge, jury, and defendant know just how the defendant’s conduct has affected their life and the lives of their loved ones. Injury victims often suffer in silence. Being able to tell their story in court can be cathartic, providing a sense of justice and closure.
A Baton Rouge Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Whether a personal injury case settles or goes to trial is up to the injured party. But it is essential that the injured party work with an honest and capable attorney who can help them make the best decision. Ultimately, an injury victim should choose a path with the greatest likelihood of compensating them fully for their damages and making them feel good about the result.
Hire Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to Help with Your Claim
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing in Baton Rouge or greater Louisiana, contact Dudley DeBosier.
Every prospective client gets a free case assessment. We love to help people protect their future and get what they deserve. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer Baton Rouge residents trust.
This content has been reviewed by the Baton Rouge Dudley DeBosier office.
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