A 2020 report from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey states that 24 million people visited the emergency department for unintentional injuries. There are also reports that say that there are over 400,000 personal injury claims filed in the US.
These two statistics paint a grim picture of carelessness. As responsible citizens of society, one must practice sufficient caution not to harm others.
But in the unfortunate event that you are injured due to someone’s act of negligence, you must put on your fighting face. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can find information related to personal injury law. For instance, you can visit attorneyguss.com to find out how you can file a case and recover compensation.
What is an Out-Of-Court Settlement?
It is just as the name suggests. An out-of-court settlement is one where both parties in a personal injury case come together and decide on the compensation that the plaintiff will get for their losses.
An out-of-court settlement has various benefits. Some of them are mentioned below.
- Saves Time
- Guaranteed Compensation
- Maintains Privacy
- Reduced Stress
We’ll discuss each of these benefits below.
A court trial is an expensive process. The moment the case proceeds to trial, costs start piling up. The costs incurred due to a court trial include:
- Initial filing fee
- Serving summons, complaints, and subpoenas
- Court transcriptions
- Photocopying court papers and exhibits
- Juror stipends
- Payments for the court clerk and court marshal
- Mediation fees
- Costs for expert witnesses
- Costs of travel
- Increased contingency costs
You can easily avoid all these costs by opting for an out-of-court settlement.
The US courts are generally overburdened. As a result, it will take a while for your case to reach a verdict. If you’re lucky, the case will be done in a few weeks. For the unfortunate ones, the case may drag on for months, even years.
Even if you do get a favorable verdict after a few weeks, the defendant may appeal the verdict. This starts the trial again, leading to an extended court trial. You cannot wait that long to get compensation.
Following an accident, there will be many bills that you need to attend to. It is possible that you are taking time off from work to recover from your injuries. You will not be able to pay the bills since you are not working. So you need to get the compensation as soon as possible.
Out-of-court settlements are predictable; court trials are not. A small miscalculation from your end or a witness making contradictory statements will be disastrous during the trial.
This is not the case with out-of-court settlements. It usually involves your lawyer negotiating with the insurance company for an amount that justifies your injuries and losses. You are assured of compensation during settlement negotiations.
Even if you don’t receive the expected settlement, you’ll receive an amount that will help you recover. Court trials are long, and there are chances that you may end up taking the blame for the accident.
A settlement negotiation is a closed-door affair involving just the parties related to the accident. This means that all the details discussed behind the doors stay there.
As for court trials, you will be asked to stand on the witness stand and be subjected to a barrage of questions. These questions can bring up unpleasant memories. Having to discuss the details of the case in front of a roomful of people is stressful and embarrassing. It gets even worse if the case is one-of-a-kind or involves the local government or a celebrity. The media will ruthlessly reveal all the information you have to share with the court.
You have some form of control in an out-of-court settlement. The same cannot be said for court trials. This is mainly because settlement negotiations are decided by your lawyer and the insurance company. Court trials, on the other hand, are decided by the judge and jury.
Having strangers decide the course of your case can be quite stressful. You also don’t know the jury’s thought process or biases. This makes court trials a terrifying affair to be a part of. The trial process is not at all predictable. A lawyer can predict the outcome of a settlement process but not the trial process. A simple expert witness testimony can change the entire course of a personal injury case.
Consult a Lawyer
The best way to decide whether to go to court or not is by speaking with a lawyer. Yes, going to court has many drawbacks, but some cases must go to court. You can only win fair compensation if you go to court in some cases. Insurance companies will delay and deny your claim to make you settle for a lesser amount. In that case, you can file a lawsuit to claim fair compensation.
However, before filing a lawsuit, you need to speak with your lawyer. File a lawsuit only if your lawyer advises you to. A lawyer only gets paid if they win the case. So if they are confident that going to court is the right decision, they can make the decision without any fear. Before filing a lawsuit, your lawyer will verify the case details and make sure that the chance of you losing the case is zero or near zero.
Out-of-court settlements are advantageous for everyone involved, including the defendant. Not only is the plaintiff assured of compensation, the process is quick, and everyone’s privacy is maintained.
Victims of accidents must get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out how they can seek compensation for their injuries and losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer will go through your case details and decide on the best course of action for your case.
A lawyer is your best bet at recovering your losses. Follow their instructions to the T to get fair compensation for the losses you incurred due to the accident.