Experienced personal injury attorneys are often asked: Is it better to settle a case or take it to court? The truth is that there are pros and cons to both and every case is different. If you have a case you are wondering about, your best option is to contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation. In the meantime, learn some of the disadvantages of settling your case out of court.
Most Cases Are Settled Out of Court
First of all, before we discuss the reasons that people may choose not to settle out of court, it is important to understand that in many instances it is the best choice. In fact, the outcome of most personal injury cases comes without a day in court. Depending on your case, the following disadvantages may or may not be worth taking your case to court.
You Are Likely to Get Less Money
The fact of the matter is that the best that can generally be done without going to court is to get the insurance company to make a fair settlement offer. Note that this is not the same as a full-value settlement offer. What does this mean for you? It means that if we estimate that your economic and noneconomic damages (such as pain and suffering) are $1 million, the insurance company is not likely to settle for this much.
Why? Because their goal is to get out of this situation with as little cost as possible. If they believe they are likely to pay $1 million in court, but there is a chance the jury will go their way, they are more likely to take the case to court. On the other hand, if they can settle the case for $750,000, it may be worth their while. It is not always the case, but insurance companies will often offer a lowball offer.
You May Not Feel Vindicated
For some people, filing a personal injury case is about a lot more than money – it is about holding the other party accountable. While you have no control over whether or not criminal charges are brought for a criminal action that led to death or serious injury, you can control whether or not civil charges are brought. Note as well that the burden of proof for this type of case is much lower than the burden of proof for a criminal trial.
If you agree to a settlement, you will not have your day in court – and the at-fault party may not have to publicly admit what they did. Depending on the specifics of the settlement, the results of the case may be confidential and they could never even have to admit fault to you.