Most people are afraid that if they file a personal injury lawsuit, they will have to go to court to get the amount of money that they are owed. Going to court can be an intimidating idea, especially for the victims of recent accidents who are still coping with injuries, emotions, and post-traumatic stress and related psychological complications.
The truth is, it is very possible to come to a settlement agreement and resolve a claim out-of-court. And, resolving your claim out of court is almost always ideal for all parties involved, for the following reasons:
- Going to court is more expensive;
- Going to court takes more time and resources;
- Going to court prolongs the process;
- Going to court can be extremely stressful;
- The trial process–especially if an appeal is made–can take years to resolve;
- Trials are public, whereas settlements are private;
- Going to court can be unpredictable; and
- When a defendant settles out of court, he or she does not actually have to admit liability.
The above reasons usually make settling a claim out of court the preferred choice for both the defendant and the plaintiff.
However, you should know from the start that when you file a personal injury claim, an out of court settlement may not always be possible. While your attorney will advocate on your behalf and do everything he or she can to avoid going to court, in some cases, an insurance company or an at fault party simply will not budge. When this is the case, going to court to get your settlement may be a move that is within your best interest.
The good news, however, is that if you do end up going to court, your attorney will make sure that you are thoroughly prepared for whatever may come your way. From guiding you through what you can expect to helping you get ready for testimony, the trial process should have no surprises that catch you off guard. The bad news, as stated above, is that going to trial can be lengthy, take years to resolve, and may be unpredictable; it is often difficult to know how a claim will be resolved when court action is necessary.