Whenever you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you are presented with the option of going through with the lawsuit or settling. Both approaches have their pros and cons, and both of them offer you the chance to give your side of the story. There are times when settling is the best approach, but to some people settling can make it feel like they did not get the justice they were looking for. A personal injury lawsuit is a civil process, which means that sometimes getting a good settlement is all of the justice you will get.
What Does it Mean to go to Court?
If you retained a personal injury attorney who offers services based on the “if you don’t get paid then I don’t get paid” concept, then going to court is not as bad as it may seem. While going to court won’t cost you anything, it can extend your case by a very long time. Going to court could cause your case to take years instead of months.
The other issue with going to court is the defendant is going to do what they can to get out of paying you anything. There might be information revealed in court that is pertinent to the case, but potentially damaging or embarrassing for you. This is usually the reason why most people accept settlements. But if you feel you have a strong case and you want to bring the kind of publicity that a court case brings, then going to court is your only option.
What Does it Mean to Settle?
A settlement is not you giving up and taking what you are given. In a settlement, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney negotiate a settlement that both sides think is fair. In most cases, a non-disclosure document is signed by both sides that prevents any information from the settlement from going public.
Going to court can be a gamble. Some people really believe in their case and go to court because they think they can get a larger award from a court, but that is not always the case. In a court setting, you run the risk of getting nothing or less than what the defendant was ready to settle for. In many ways, a settlement can be an easier and more rewarding way to get the kind of award you feel you deserve.
What Should I Do?
You should never make a decision about going to court or settling without consulting your attorney first. The chances are very good that this is the only personal injury lawsuit you have ever filed, while your attorney has been through the process many times before. Your attorney has all of the necessary experience to let you know if you should go to court or settle.
You may find that one of the first questions your attorney asks you when you file your personal injury lawsuit is if you are willing to settle. Your attorney is not trying to make the process easier by settling. Based on your attorney’s experience, they may recommend settling as the best way to get the award you are looking for. Ultimately, the decision on going to court or settling is usually made by the plaintiff. But it is always a good idea to listen to the legal expert you helped you to file your lawsuit when making this very important decision.