When most people file a personal injury lawsuit, they expect that the case will go to court and get decided by a jury after all the evidence is presented. In reality, many personal injury lawsuits may be settled before the case ever goes to trial. Settlement does not have to be a negative resolution for a personal injury case and could mean a faster resolution.
A settlement in a personal injury case refers to a process by which the parties get together and negotiate on the amount of compensation the defendant will pay the plaintiff in order to avoid going to trial. After a case is settled and the plaintiff accepts the settlement offer, the plaintiff drops the lawsuit and the right to continue seeking compensation based on the same injury.
Trials can take years from when the complaint is filed to be completed. If a plaintiff needs to settle a case faster than a trial would take, for example if the plaintiff has medical bills that need to be paid right away, a settlement may make more sense than going to trial. However, there is more to consider when making the decision to settle. If the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in part to force a particular industry to change, a settlement may not be the best way to achieve this goal. Additionally, if the plaintiff stands to receive a better outcome from a jury verdict, a settlement would be ill advised.
The decision on whether or not to settle a case is left up to the plaintiff. The plaintiff should not make this decision without consulting with his attorney. The attorney cannot predict how a jury would decide the case and whether or not the jury would award the full amount sought by the plaintiff. The attorney can give an assessment of the case based on experience and the applicable law and advise on how much the case is worth. This assessment can help the plaintiff decide if settlement is in his best interest.
Settlement agreements sometimes come with non-disclosure agreements that require the plaintiff to not reveal the details of the accident that caused the injury, or not to reveal the amount of compensation the defendant paid out. A non-disclosure agreement does not have to be a part of an agreement and can be negotiated out of an agreement.
A plaintiff can pull out of settlement negotiations at any time before the final agreement is reached. If settlement agreements fail for some reason, the plaintiff’s lawsuit can continue to trial and the judge or jury can decide how much the plaintiff should receive in compensation.
Contact Us for More Information
If you are injured in a car accident and do not have any idea whether to file a lawsuit or accept a settlement offer, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to figure out the strength of your case in order to make an informed decision. For more information on seeking compensation after suffering a personal injury, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation.