If you file a personal injury lawsuit, there is a high chance that your case won’t go to trial. What’s more, according to data from the US Justice Department, the majority of cases are settled before ever selecting a jury. However, both you and your personal injury attorney need to understand the risks vs. benefits of choosing not to go to trial.
In the end, your attorney should consider your best interest and opt to go to trial if that is the case. But often, the better course of action is a settlement, which removes some uncertainty from the process.
Definition of Personal Injury Settlement
From a legal standpoint, the word “settlement” means reaching a formal resolution in the personal injury lawsuit before taking it to a judge or jury. It’s an agreement to accept personal injury compensation in exchange for skipping the court system.
At any point throughout litigation, a settlement for your claim may be reached. Even if your personal injury lawsuit has gone to trial, a resolution may get reached so long as the jurors haven’t reached a verdict.
The settlement process in Florida can vary between suits and depends on the number of defendants and the type of case circumstances involved. Generally, though, it goes something like this:
After being stabilized or reaching maximum medical improvement, your lawyer will submit a demand letter to the defendant explaining your predicament. Your lawyer will include a legal argument backing up your demand for monetary damages.
In response, the defendant’s lawyer will usually counter with a lower offer.
A back-and-forth of phone calls, video conferences, and emails will begin between the lawyers.
There may also be some pre-trial hearings and exchange of initial discovery. Minor issues will be settled, which will narrow the scope of any trial.
Lawyers from both sides are often able to negotiate a settlement so that you can receive payment for your damages. You will also sign away future liabilities, which means you can’t sue them over the issue again.
Benefits of a Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement
It is preferable to settle because it may take less time to do so than going through a lengthy trial. However, if you choose to go to trial, you may end up with a more favorable judgment than the insurer was willing to settle for.
According to the BJS, plaintiffs win roughly 55% of all tort claims that end up going in front of a jury. Nevertheless, some still opt to settle to have more control over the outcome of their case. One may also avoid a costly, drawn-out trial. The downside? The payoff could be less.
Trial proceedings are lengthy and expensive, so you need an attorney willing to commit their resources to your cause.
Courts try to avoid this lengthy process by encouraging those who can resolve their disputes privately to do so. If not, the court will get bogged down with more cases than they can handle.
Florida statute §768.79 creates an incentive for plaintiffs to accept reasonable settlements. It is applicable if the defendant’s offer has been turned down and the court agrees with the defendant. If the defendant wins in court, the defendant’s legal costs and attorney’s fees will become the plaintiff’s responsibility. This could substantially reduce the payout that the plaintiff receives.
If the defendant’s court costs and attorney’s fees are higher than the damage award, the court will enter a judgment for the plaintiff. It would include the cost of the defendant’s court and defense fees, minus the amount of the damage award.
It is essential to consider the cost-benefit analysis for a plaintiff, which could substantially reduce the damages that a plaintiff gets awarded. An Osceola County personal injury attorney can help you weigh the options and find out what is beneficial for you and your case.
Get the Compensation You Deserve for Your Emotional Distress Claim
If you or a loved one have suffered emotional distress due to witnessing a harrowing accident or through the negligent actions of others, Jordan Law is here for you. We believe that all injuries deserve to be compensated to the maximum extent of the law, whether we negotiate a just and fair settlement or go to trial to seek justice on your behalf.
Trust us to thoroughly investigate your claim and build a solid case by using evidence and expert testimony to show how the trauma you suffered has hurt you physically. You shouldn’t be forced to live with the effects of debilitating distress. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about what rights you have to compensation.