The next most important decision you will have to make after actually deciding to file a personal injury claim is whether you will accept a settlement or push for a court
trial. The primary goal of any personal injury claim is to get appropriate compensation of course, but getting as much money as possible isn’t necessarily the best option all the time. Let’s take a look at the typical personal injury claim and how the various parties involve deal with it.
The legal process typically begins with the decision of the injured party to hire a personal injury lawyer. This sets the wheels in motion and signifies the start of the legal proceedings for the lawyer. The lawyer will then get as many details of the incident as possible from the person making the claim. The lawyer also sets about gathering witnesses and expert testimony, which will help considerably in lending credence to your claim.
After determining that the case does indeed have merit, the lawyer will then file a personal injury claim on behalf of the injured party. This is where the party responsible becomes involved in the legal process.
The party responsible for the incident will of course
also have his own legal representation, and you should assume that they have
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secured it right after the incident. The job of his lawyers is to prove that he is free from any liability–or is only partly liable–for the incident. If they feel that they are at least partly responsible for the incident, there is a good chance that they may attempt an out-of-court settlement.
The initial instinct of most people is to reject a settlement, with some feeling that they can get more money by seeing the case through to trial. Although there is a possibility of that occurring, there is also a significant chance that the claim
may get thrown out in court. The outcome of the decision will also depend on many factors that occur in the courtroom. Even if the party responsible is clearly at fault, there are just too things that can go
on in a courtroom that makes it impossible to predict the outcome with any degree of certainty.
Keep in mind also that court trials can take a long time to complete. Depending on the number of cases filed in your legal jurisdiction, you may be in for a long wait before your case is even presented to a judge. And then there is still the entire legal process to go through.
Does this mean that you should accept any settlement offer outright? Not necessarily. However, there are instances wherein taking a smaller settlement might be the better option. Unless the offer is totally unreasonable, you might find it more appealing to get the offered compensation instead of being tied up in court for months. With adequate compensation and the chance to put the entire incident behind you and get back to your normal life as soon as possible, going for the settlement might be the best decision you can make.