Determining if a Trial or Settlement is More Beneficial for a Case
It is an accepted fact that most personal injury claims are settled before they go to court. In many cases, that’s the best way to handle the situation. There are also other cases that must work their way through the trial process in order for an accident victim to get fair compensation. There are risks and benefits with both ways of handling a case. It will take an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney to know which approach is best for a particular case and to negotiate a settlement that is fair.
This is a term used for resolving a legal dispute without the case being decided by the court system. In this situation, the defendant will offer a specified amount of money to the plaintiff. This money is usually offered with the requirement that a plaintiff sign a release; a legal document that will hold the defendant immune from any further liability connected to the incident, and make sure the plaintiffs don’t discuss the case in public. A settlement is something that can be offered at any time during a civil lawsuit. It’s possible for a settlement to be negotiated prior to the plaintiff filing a lawsuit. A settlement can only happen when both sides are able to reach an agreement they believe is fair. Many times, the motivation for a settlement is avoiding a trial that could be time consuming and expensive. There is no certain outcome with a trial, where a settlement allows the defendant to know what to expect even if they are possibly liable. Also, the defendant avoids a possible verdict of guilt. Instead, the plea is usually “no contest,” which isn’t a full admission of guilt.
Advantages Of Settlement
A settlement will avoid a defense attorney’s time, extensive depositions, time, travel, pleadings and more that are involved with a trial. All of these are expenses that can be avoided when a settlement is reached out of court. A trial is a stressful experience. No matter how well a case is presented to a jury, the outcome is still unknown. Things can go wrong. Unknown issues can be discovered, witnesses can change their testimony and more. Once a case goes to court, the documents associated with it become public record. Anyone will be able to view them. A certain amount of privacy is lost. Settling a case out of court could lead to the sealing of the court documents away from public view. Most settlement agreements also include a section covering confidentiality.
If a settlement isn’t reached, the remaining option may be going to trial. The plaintiff’s, as well as the defendant’s attorney, will have the opportunity to argue the case before a judge or jury. Both sides will have equal opportunity to present their understanding of the case and interpretation of the facts. A jury trial will require a significant investment of time and resources for proper preparation. Should either side receive a decision they don’t agree with, they have the ability to appeal the decision to a higher court. Settlements are usually not able to be appealed.
Advantages Of A Jury Trial
There are certain situations where a jury trial is the best option. It is possible for a trial to result in a larger amount of compensation for the plaintiff when compared to what is offered during a settlement. It is a situation where a plaintiff may be awarded economic as well as non-economic damages and punitive damages.
There are times when a case can be very complicated. It is possible to ask for the outcome of a lawsuit to be determined by a judge. This is known as a bench trial. In a complex case, this could benefit both sides. The judge will have the experience and knowledge necessary to understand all of the legal jargon. Many legal terms confuse a jury. This is also an opportunity for a defendant to refute the claims of the plaintiff. They will be able to call their own witnesses as well as experts. In some cases, a defendant will benefit most from a jury trial. It will provide an opportunity for a defense attorney to explain their client’s position regarding all of the claims made by the plaintiff.
Tate Law Group can help. Our Savannah law office has assisted many clients in finding the result they deserved from both jury trial and out of court settlement. Call us today if you need legal help.