When you go through a personal injury bad enough to warrant a lawsuit, the last thing you want to think about is spending hours in a courtroom. Believe it or not, most personal injury cases don’t need to make it in front of a judge. Instead, you can settle a court case and avoid trial altogether.
However, that is not to say that there are no benefits to taking your lawsuit to trial. Read on to learn the benefits, drawbacks, and differences between a court settlement and a trial.
The first place to begin your lawsuit journey is with an attorney. Please note that we said your lawsuit journey. The first thing you should do after a personal injury is to seek medical attention and get healthy. Once that’s done, your lawyer will have you take them through everything—the accident and the aftermath—so they can learn all the pertinent details. It won’t take them long to know whether you have a case or not.
Now, you and your attorney have a choice to make—either begin negotiations with the other party or start the litigation phase. To learn more about trials and settlements, keep reading!
Going to Trial
While going to trial is what most people think of when they picture suing another person or business, most cases never make it to a courtroom. However, since it’s the most common thing to picture, we’ll talk about going to trial first.
When your lawyer files the lawsuit, the clock starts ticking on when your court date will be. The legal system in this country isn’t the speediest, so you should expect it to take a year or two before you’re in a courtroom.
An important phase of the lawsuit process is known as “discovery.” This is the time for your side to figure out what the defendant’s legal claims are, and it’s the time for their representation to investigate yours.
The complexity of the case is the biggest determinant of how long this takes, but the typical timeline is six months to a year.
Benefits of a Trial
The best reason to go to trial is that you have a strong case, and you and your lawyer are confident that you will win. Trial verdicts have the potential to come with much higher payouts than settlements, so if you’re confident that your evidence will find the other party guilty, you may be able to secure more money.
In addition, there’s something to be said for the finality of receiving the verdict you want in a court case. When a judge looks over all the information and finds that the other party should be held legally responsible for your injuries, that can bring you a sense of closure that a settlement cannot.
Drawbacks of a Trial
Unfortunately, going to trial isn’t all good. If the potential of more money is a big benefit of going to trial, coming away with no money at all is the biggest drawback. That’s right—even people with great cases can lose in a trial. It all depends on the final verdict, and there are highly capable defense attorneys out there who can make a sure thing turn on a dime.
Trial is a risk, plain and simple. You never know when things will go your way. If the risk factor isn’t enough to dissuade you, the timeline might do the trick. Trials can last for months, and that’s after years of waiting for your court date.
Settling Your Case
Most cases end before they get to trial. Simple negotiations, offers, and counteroffers are typically all it takes to resolve the situation. Instead of filing a lawsuit, your attorney can send a demand letter to the other party to begin negotiations.
Benefits of Settling
A settlement comes with certainty. At the end of the negotiation process, you know for sure how much money you’re getting. In addition, because you can end settlement negotiations at any time and choose to go to trial, there’s very little pressure on you—the ball is in your court.
On top of that, settlements can take a matter of weeks to resolve, as opposed to a court case that can take years.
Drawbacks of Settling
The main drawback of settling is the “what if?” factor. You will likely win a smaller amount of money after a negotiated settlement than you would going to court. The money comes with certainty, but also with a fear of missing out.
Paying Your Bills
Even though you have a better picture of the benefits of settling your case, you’ll never escape a lawsuit without incurring fees. Whether they come from your lawyer, court costs, medical bills, or the more figurative fees of lost wages, personal injury cases cost money.
Whether you need to pay that money back before your settlement or when you’re waiting for settlement money to come through, bills can pile up and feel awfully overwhelming. Thankfully, you aren’t alone. Apogee Capital Partners offers settled case funding for people in various stages of their legal battles.
People commonly misconstrue this funding as a loan, but this is a misconception. In fact, should you procure settlement funding before your case ends and then lose your lawsuit, you are under no obligation to repay Apogee Capital Partners the cash advance they provided you. You only need to repay the funding should the case go your way—and at that point, you’ll have more money than you need!
It’s not too good to be true, just reach out and talk to our team or fill out an application yourself. We want to facilitate access to great legal representation for everyone in America, not just the wealthy.
Now that you understand the differences between a court settlement and a trial, talk with your lawyer to find out which route is right for you. However, you should also remember that your attorney is just that—your attorney. If you don’t want to go through the trial process, even if your attorney advises you to do so, you can instead pursue a settlement. The choice is entirely yours.