When most people picture personal injury lawsuits, they imagine large courtrooms full of people and full-blown jury trials.
Although this is a possibility for a personal injury case in Texas, it is not a probability. The vast majority of personal injury claims settle – they do not go to trial.
Knowing what is best for your particular personal injury case, however, will require consulting with an experienced attorney in San Antonio.
Pros and Cons of Settling a Personal Injury Case
Settling a personal injury case means negotiating with the defendant or an insurance company until reaching an agreement that works for both parties.
Most settlement agreements give a specific amount of money to the injured victim for bills and losses in exchange for the victim agreeing to waive his or her right to take further legal action against the at-fault party.
A settlement is a fast, private resolution that can result in a check within just a few months or less.
The pros of settling include:
- Achieving a faster resolution and payment
- Saving money in legal fees and court costs
- Keeping the settlement amount and details confidential
- Remaining in control of the outcome of your case
- Having the power to negotiate the value of your settlement
The cons of settling your case may include:
- Forfeiting the right to bring a lawsuit against the defendant
- Settling for less than you could have received in a personal injury lawsuit
- No award available for losses such as pain and suffering or punitive damages
- The inability to reopen a closed case
- The inability to negotiate for a higher amount if you suffer future losses
In most cases, plaintiffs and defendants can reach successful settlements and avoid going to court.
However, if either party is not satisfied with settlement negotiations, the case may have no option but to go to court.
Note that the two parties can continue negotiating and potentially reach a settlement right up until the date of the hearing.
Pros and Cons of Going to Court
If a personal injury case cannot end with a settlement, the plaintiff may file a formal lawsuit in San Antonio. Filing a lawsuit initiates a legal process that typically involves a judge and jury.
Going to court means both the plaintiff and the defendant (and their attorneys) will stand before a judge and jury and express the key facts of each side of the case.
The jury will then determine whether or not the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s damages.
Some of the potential pros of going to court in Texas are:
- Increasing the final amount of your monetary recovery with a positive jury verdict
- Receiving compensation for noneconomic damages, such as emotional distress
- The possibility of a punitive damage award
- Receiving a greater sense of justice by holding the defendant publicly accountable
The most common cons of going to court include:
- Spending more money on court fees and hiring expert witnesses
- Paying more for your attorney
- Waiting months or years for your case to resolve
- Having no control over the final outcome of your case
- Running the risk of losing your case and receiving $0 in financial compensation
The exact pros and cons you may experience with a settlement vs. going to court will depend on the factors unique to your specific personal injury case.
Every Case Is Unique – Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
No two personal injury cases are alike. What is best for one plaintiff might not be what is best for you. The most accurate way to find out whether settling your case or going to court is better is by consulting with an attorney. A personal injury attorney in San Antonio, Texas can carefully review the unique facts of your case and give you the advice you can trust about how to achieve the best possible resolution.