Personal injury and products liability cases usually settle. One statistic notes that 95% of injury or products liability cases settle at some point in the pre-trial stage. Another statistic cites that only 20% of injury cases result in a judgment by a court. However, just because a case has a judgment does not mean that the parties cannot continue trying to settle the case. Many post-judgment settlements can occur when it continues to be advantageous for both parties to continue to reach a decision that is mutually beneficial. For instance, a judgment may award the plaintiff damages, but if the defendant is unable or unwilling to meet that obligation, it may be better to settle for a smaller amount that can be paid immediately.
Statistics also indicate that trials tend to favor plaintiffs. This is not because juries and judges like plaintiffs more than defendants. In many instances, cases that make it to trial are stronger cases for plaintiffs. Many insurance companies are hesitant to settle for adequate compensation for the injured party in an effort to keep costs down. Such companies place a case through their software which will usually underestimate the injured party’s claim. This is why it is important to hire an attorney to review your claim.
In some instances, plaintiffs may want to settle for less than they believe they are entitled. As mentioned above, one reason is that they may be able to get paid faster by settling for less money. Litigation is a long process and in the meantime, an injured party has a life to live and bills to pay. Sometimes litigation is not worth it if it is not believed to substantially increase the damages. Remember that attorney costs will come out of the settlement amount and it may result in more money to settle with a smaller amount rather than get a little bit more at trial.
Defendants may want to settle even when they are not negligent. Why? Sometimes it is cheaper to pay out something than to hire an attorney and go to court to prove they were right. For instance, some companies may pay out on slip and fall cases rather than face the possibility of needing to hire an attorney to defend them.
If you are injured and an insurance company wants you to settle, they will have you sign a settlement agreement. It is important to read these carefully. Usually, you will waive your right to ever sue the defendant over the current claim. If other injuries flare up, you cannot go back and ask for more money. Without an attorney, there is typically little room for negotiation with the insurance company.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases.
Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you have a personal injury case please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.