In a personal injury lawsuit, there are two ways a claim can be resolved — by settlement or trial. Many clients want to know which course of action will result in the most favorable outcome.
The answer is: It depends.
Although it seems like a simple question, settlement and trial each have potential pros and cons that must be carefully weighed depending on the facts of your personal injury case.
The decision concerning whether to settle out of court or have a jury of your peers determine your case is ultimately up to you. However, it’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, and there are often many factors that should be considered. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and can advise you regarding the best course of action.
The Certainty of Settlement
A majority of personal injury cases settle. It’s often more cost-effective for insurance companies — in many cases, they simply don’t want to take the risk of a jury returning a high verdict. This being the case, you shouldn’t be too eager to accept the first settlement offer made by an insurance company. A good attorney will know how to effectively negotiate any offers that are made to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
The biggest advantage of resolving your personal injury lawsuit by settlement is the certainty that comes with it. Unlike at trial, you know the amount of compensation you’ll be obtaining when you agree to a settlement. Additionally, settling out of court can resolve a case more quickly than going through the lengthy litigation process involved with proceeding to trial.
Sometimes, it may also be in your best interests to settle your lawsuit if your case has any potential weaknesses that might make a positive result at trial uncertain. For instance, if liability is tenuous, or if there is some other reason that could make it unlikely a jury would return a favorable verdict, settlement may be the less risky option — and can ensure you’ll receive compensation.
Maximizing Compensation at Trial
If the insurance company’s offer is unreasonable, or the defense has substantially undervalued your claim, you may be able to maximize your compensation by presenting your case before a jury. A successful outcome at trial can also hold the defendant accountable for their negligence — unlike entering into a settlement agreement which generally requires that a plaintiff release the defendant from any liability in connection with the accident.
A New York jury may consider and award economic and non-economic damages for:
- Unreimbursed medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
A jury may also award punitive damages in some cases, if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.
By going to trial, your lawyer will have the opportunity to demonstrate the severity of your injuries to a jury and explain how your pain and suffering affects your daily life. How this evidence is presented in court can make all the difference in the amount of compensation that a jury will award — it’s crucial to have a seasoned lawyer on your side who has spent years honing their skills in the courtroom and has a track record of securing high verdicts.
Contact an Experienced New York City Personal Injury Attorney
Whether to resolve your case by settlement or at trial is a strategic decision that should be fully discussed with your attorney. However, not every attorney is a trial lawyer — or an effective negotiator. It’s important to understand that the personal injury attorney you choose can make all the difference to the outcome of your case.
Due to our years of experience litigating personal injury actions in the courtroom and engaging in negotiations with insurance companies, we regularly secure millions in compensation for our clients — both at trial and through settlement negotiations. Our firm is one of the few in New York that regularly appears on the state’s top verdict and settlement lists.
The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP have extensive experience fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they get the maximum compensation they deserve. Located in Manhattan, we have been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.