Slate’s Law Blog

Personal Injury Settlements: To Settle or Not?

Personal Injury Settlements

If you are in the early stages of filing a personal injury lawsuit, or if you have been offered a settlement from the defendant, you are likely wondering if it is in your best interest to settle the case. It is important to understand the benefits and limitations of settlements, and to learn more about the types of situations in which a settlement often makes sense for an injured plaintiff. Our Santa Fe personal injury attorneys can evaluate the specific facts of your case for you today to help you determine whether it is in your interest to negotiate or accept a settlement offer. In the meantime, we want to provide you with additional information that can help you to understand the pros and cons of settlements in personal injury cases.

Resolutions Before Trial are Extremely Common in Injury Cases

Did you know that most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court? You might not realize that settlements are extremely common, and a majority of personal injury lawsuits do in fact end in settlement (as opposed to a court or jury verdict). Indeed, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), nearly three-quarters (or 73%) of all personal injury cases end in an agreed-upon settlement. About 10% of the cases are dismissed, and a percentage of the remaining cases result in default judgments due to the defendant’s failure to file an answer or to engage in other necessary elements of the case process.

What do these numbers mean for personal injury cases that ultimately go to a verdict? According to the BJS, only about 3% of all personal injury cases will reach a verdict stage, although the number is higher for certain types of personal injury lawsuits (for example, medical malpractice lawsuits are more likely to result in a verdict than other types of personal injury cases such as auto accident claims or premises liability lawsuits).

Benefits and Limitations of Resolving Your Injury Case Before Trial

There are many benefits to settling your personal injury case before trial. First, settlements tend to allow for a resolution much faster than a trial. Accordingly, you will also be able to obtain the financial compensation you need much quicker than if your case goes to trial and reaches the verdict stage. Settlements also tend to be less stressful than a trial for the plaintiffs and ultimately cost less in the long run. With a settlement, you also have some control over the process since you can decline a settlement offer or negotiate with the defendant until you receive a settlement offer that is fair.

You should also know that, even if your case moves to the trial stage, you can still accept a settlement at almost any point. As such, if you move to the trial phase and the defendant offers a fair and reasonable settlement, you can still accept that offer.

In terms of the limitations of a settlement, you should know that you may receive less money than you would if your case goes to trial and you receive damages through a jury verdict. It is also important to remember that accepting the settlement offer is final—you will not be able to move forward with a lawsuit against the defendant once you have accepted the settlement.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Santa Fe

If you have questions about personal injury cases and settlements, one of the experienced Santa Fe personal injury lawyers at our firm are here to help. Contact Slate Stern Law today.