It is a fact that a vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. But there is an adage that says a good lawyer is never afraid of going to the trial. It is because many times settling the case out of court is not in the best interest of the client. The term settlement means a formal resolution of the case before it has been decided by the jury or a judge. You can arrive at the settlement any time during the litigation. In some cases settlements are made even before a lawsuit is filed formally.
Pros and Cons of out of court settlement
There are many benefits associated with the out of court settlement of personal injury cases and avoiding going to trial. For instance, in the settlement, both parties are aware of the terms before they sign the agreement and the possible uncertainty of the trial can be avoided. Settlements allow the concerned parties to resolve the matter out of court and get on with their lives faster than going to trials. In the case of settlements, the check is issued to the plaintiff and the settlement is not considered valid until it is clear. The trial on the other hand goes toward judgment and there is no guarantee that the defendant in the case will turn over the amount without a further fight.
The fees of personal injury attorneys are reduced significantly when a trial is avoided. These settlements are always less stressful than compared to the trials. The terms of the settlement are generally kept confidential but the lawsuit results are normally made public.
Pros and cons of going to a trial
There are some possible advantages of taking the lawsuit to the trial as well and not opting for an out of court settlement. For instance, the jury comprising of your peers might award greater damages than you receive in the out of court settlement. In case of a settlement, the defendants do not admit normally admit to a fault. The trial court on the other hand will decide whether the defendant did anything wrong and state the findings publicly. These trials can turn out to be cathartic for the plaintiff who wishes to be heard.
Role of Florida courts
Many times the Florida courts encourage the involved parties to settle the dispute privately. They may take part in the mediation process as well. This is done because the courts are flooded with cases and they will get overwhelmed with backlog cases otherwise.
The Florida law can develop an incentive for the plaintiff to accept a reasonable settlement offer. The F.S. 768.79 states that if the defendant files some offer in a civil action to settle that is not accepted and then if the judgment turns out to be a “no liability” or 25% less than the offer, the court has to offset the defendants’ and lawyer’s costs against the reward. This will substantially decrease the amount of compensation. In case the attorney’s fees and defendant’s costs are higher than awarded damages at the trial, the court will provide judgment in favor of the defendant against the plaintiff for this amount, less the damages.
This decision to either accept a settlement or take the lawsuit to the trial for the personal injury lawsuit cannot be taken lightly. Your personal injury attorney will explain the overall costs and benefits of both alternatives to you. If your personal injury accident took place in the Tampa, FL area, you can utilize the professional services of the Rojas Law Group, a reputable law firm that has been helping accident victims and their families with claims for nearly 30 years.
Picture Credit: Pexels