What are the benefits and disadvantages of out-of-court settlements?

While it may seem more suitable to settle a case before trial, unfortunately, personal injury cases seem to be settling less and less pre-litigation. A fair number of cases in Miami used to get resolved before handling lawsuits. Still, insurance companies seem to force many cases into litigation by not making fair settlement offers unless a lawsuit is filed.

Settling means both parties involved in a case resolve their issues outside of court without a trial. The responsible party typically offers a payment to the injured party, possibly less than the initial amount asked.

Your lawyer needs to examine if it is actually in your best interest when considering a settlement. Many times, a settlement might not adequately compensate for your injuries and damages. The decision of whether to settle or not ultimately belongs to you. Each time we have the possibility, we try to resolve the case before going to court. A lawsuit is a stressful experience for everyone involved and requires time and money. Although, there are situations when settling is not an option.

The advantages of out-of-court settlements

You should have all necessary information regarding out-of-court settlements before making a decision, in order to assess how they may be beneficial and when to consider other options.

  • Saving time:

If you settle the case out-of-court, you can usually recover damages faster, instead of waiting for months or years if you go before the court. This way, you can avoid having additional expenses due up to the final day in court.

  • Guaranteed compensation:

When you and the other party reach a settlement agreement without going to court, you are guaranteed to receive a payout. And you can start almost immediately to pay back medical expenses, seek the needed treatment for you to recover, and restore the quality of your life from before the sustained injuries.

  • Reducing costs:

When a case goes to trial, there are a series of courtroom costs and expert witness fees. Pre-litigation expenses along with the attorney's fee are ultimately covered by the compensation awarded. However, preparing and delivering the case in court might require, in the end, a significant portion of the settlement money. Also, the attorney fee is typically higher when the case is tried in court.

Furthermore, you need to consider that there are always risks in a lawsuit. Should you lose the case, you are basically told that you need to pay the expenses for the other side. But when you’re taking the out-of-court settlement route, you are reassured that you’ll receive compensation at the end.

  • Maintaining your privacy:

Going to court may be a daunting experience. Not only because you have to relive the whole event, but also because all of the details become public. This may feel invasive to you, for other people to know about what exactly happened to you and the damages that you seek to obtain. Some people might not have the full story and issue hurtful judgments. By settling out-of-court, you may significantly reduce your stress and anxiety related to the whole experience and maintain control over keeping the matter private.

The disadvantages of out-of-court settlements

Being able to make an informed decision about settling your case out-of-court requires a complete understanding of the disadvantages involved.

  • Not being represented by a competent lawyer that can negotiate on your behalf:

You should never enter into settlement procedures without having legal counsel for thorough representation. A trusted personal injury lawyer is able to assess the incident, your injuries, your economic and non-economic damages, and figure out an estimate of how much your claim is worth.

  • Not being able to pursue further legal action:

When you agree to a settlement, you may become ineligible to pursue further legal action. Moreover, if you settle out-of-court, the at-fault party does not even have to pay compensation.

  • Dissatisfaction with the result:

When you settle a case out-of-court, the compensation you obtain may be significantly lower than the actual worth of all the damages you sustained as a plaintiff. Also, the person that harmed you might walk away without punishment. This is because they are not facing a jury and are not conceding to any wrongdoing or admitting guilt.

At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have the experience and knowledge to apply the most effective approach for pursuing justice on your behalf – whether you are considering a trial or an out-of-court settlement. Get in touch with our legal team today and schedule your free case evaluation.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.