Around 62 million people visit hospitals to treat unintentional injuries every year in the US. Accidents can happen for many reasons, but all of them have one thing in common—negligence. Negligence is a breach of the duty of care a person owes to others. For instance, a car driver owes a duty of care to all other drivers. If the driver is driving while distracted, they are breaching their duty of care.
Luckily, personal injury law exists. Victims are, at the very least, allowed to mitigate the consequences of an accident by claiming compensation for their losses. Personal injury lawyers can help to a great extent in negotiating with insurance companies and obtaining fair compensation for your losses. Visit jmlawyer.com to learn more about how a personal injury attorney can help you following an accident.
When it comes to personal injury cases, you have two options: you can either settle outside the court or take your case to court. Both methods have their pros and cons, which we will explore in this blog post.
Settling Out of Court
Most personal injury cases are settled out of court. In fact, only 4% of all personal injury cases go to court. In the settlement process, you will first have to draft a demand letter. This demand letter will consist of information on how much you are claiming as compensation. This letter will be sent to the insurance company. Then the insurance company will make a different offer. Hence begins the negotiation process. The negotiation will go back and forth, and finally, both parties will agree to settle.
Pros of Settling Out of Court
- An out-of-court settlement is a quick way to resolve a personal injury case. The only thing that will drag out a bit will be the negotiation process.
- Guaranteed settlement. You have control over the whole process and can get favorable outcomes easily.
- The best benefit of settling out of court is that you get to enjoy your privacy.
- Less legal fee if you agree on a staged contingency fee arrangement.
Cons of Settling Out of Court
- Less compensation compared to what you can get from a lawsuit.
- You cannot claim punitive damages, which can significantly affect your compensation.
- You cannot take further action if the claim is settled.
- Insurance companies will use many unethical tactics to deny or delay your claim.
Filing a Lawsuit
A lawsuit is a comparatively more complicated process than a settlement. First, both parties will exchange the requested information. This phase is known as the discovery phase. Then the jury selection process will commence. Opening statements from both parties will follow the jury selection process. The evidence submission, cross-examinations, and closing arguments will take place after that.
Pros of Filing a Lawsuit
- A much larger compensation can be acquired when compared to an out-of-court settlement.
- You can claim punitive damages when filing a lawsuit.
- You can publicly hold the at-fault party negligent for their actions.
- Creates awareness among people. A lawsuit will deter others from engaging in negligent behavior.
Cons of Filing a Lawsuit
- You have no control over this process. A lawsuit is not predictable, like a settlement process.
- A lawsuit is a much longer process than a settlement process.
- It is also more stressful and tiring.
- You might have to pay additional fees for things like expert witnesses.
While an out-of-court settlement process is preferable, filing a lawsuit is necessary in some cases. A case goes to court only when both parties cannot reach an agreement. Filing a lawsuit can get you a better outcome, but it is a long process. Speak with your lawyer, and if they are confident that filing a lawsuit is the best possible option, go for it.