Settle or Go to Trial: The Choice is Yours
When you file a lawsuit, you don’t automatically get to your trial. It can take many months, possibly a year (depending on the court’s schedule), to get to trial. In the interim, your personal injury attorney may tell you that there is an offer to settle your case. Should you take that offer?
Get Advice From Your Attorney
Every case is different, and every person is different. Some victims have the time to wait for trial, or the stomach to risk a trial, while others do not. Any decision about whether to settle a case, or to reject a settlement and keep going to your personal injury trial, is one that should be made in conjunction with your injury attorney.
The Kinds of Settlements
When it comes to settlement offers, there are three kids: offers that are way more than you expected, and which fully compensate you (which is rare), offers that don’t fully compensate you, but which may still be sufficient or acceptable, and settlement offers that are so low, that it just makes no sense to accept them.
The middle settlement offer is, of course, where the major decisions need to be made.
Are You a Risk Taker?
Ultimately, the question is one of risk. If you go to trial, you could lose, or win less than what is being offered to you. Even if you have a fantastic case. Juries can be unpredictable, and there is no exact science to how a jury decides cases.
Yes, some, “better” cases involve less risk, but that isn’t the same as having “no risk” of a low jury verdict.
So, the question is whether or not the settlement amount being offered is one that you could risk—if things went sour at trial, would not accepting the settlement feel like a loss?
You will need to analyze whether the settlement, if you took it, would pay your medical expenses. Whether it is fair, if not exactly what you wanted. And of course, whether it is “too much to risk.”
If the offer is too low, of course, there may be little risk at all—losing in trial, if that happened, would only lose you the already insufficient settlement amount.
Another thing to take into account is time. People who are older, or sicker, or who are in more immediate need for funds, may have a harder time rejecting a settlement and waiting the time necessary to get a trial date. Others, who may have the financial ability to hold out, may not mind the wait to get to trial.
Intangibles play a factor as well. Are you OK reliving the accident in trial, and telling a jury what you are going through? If that is too traumatic or difficult, you may want to lean towards just accepting the settlement offer, and avoiding the possible emotional difficulty of a trial.
We can help you make the important decisions in your personal injury case. Call the Knoxville personal injury attorneys at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, for help today.