One of the most common questions asked by clients during the personal injury claims process is whether to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company or to roll the proverbial dice and take the case to court with the goal of securing a favorable verdict from a jury. The answer to this question is…it depends. No lawyer can provide a definitive yes or no answer until they've had a chance to speak to you directly, learn the specific details of your case, understand the contours of the settlement offer, and assess the viability to taking your case to a jury trial.
Most Personal Injury Claims are Settled Outside of Court
The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of court via settlement. This is largely due to the fact that there are numerous immediate benefits to reaching a settlement. For example, partaking in a jury trial can be extremely stressful and nerve-wracking for a client, especially when they are still attempting to recover from a serious accident. Settling your case outside of court provides a level of certainty and resolves the legal dispute so you can focus on healing and moving forward in life.
However, accepting a settlement does carry risk. Specifically, you run the risk of missing out on a potentially much larger damages award that could be handed down by a jury. While there is no guarantee of a favorable verdict, the best strategy for maximum compensation will depend on multiple factors related to the specific circumstances of your personal injury case.
Assessing Whether to Go to Trial
One of the key factors in determining whether to go to trial is typically the strength of your personal injury case weighed against the amount of the proposed settlement. For example, if liability is unclear or contested, there is a higher risk that a jury may not find in your favor thereby making the proposed settlement a more enticing option.
In addition, the trial process contains a significant amount of risks and unknowns. For example, the judge overseeing your case may decide to toss out key pieces of evidence. In addition, a favorable jury verdict does not mean you will get a big check from the insurance company. In fact, a large jury verdict will likely be appealed.
Other notable benefits of settlements are that they are private, unlike a trial, which is a matter of public record. The private nature of a settlement could be attractive since you may not want your name permanently associated with a personal injury case publicly.
One of the most common reasons it makes sense to proceed with a jury trial instead of accepting a settlement is when the insurance company stubbornly refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer and, instead, offers far too little to properly compensate you for your harms and losses. In this situation, going to trial may make more sense.
Have Questions About What to Do After an Accident that Left You Damaged Physically, Financially and Emotionally? Contact The Geller Firm
If you were badly injured in an accident caused by someone else's actions, or inactions, in or around San Francisco, San Jose, Lafayette, or anywhere else in California, you owe it to yourself to hold them accountable for your harms and losses. Take action today by contacting The Geller Firm. We offer confidential, no-cost consultations to all prospective clients.
Our team of respected and reputable California personal injury attorneys are available for virtual and in-person consultations. We serve San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasanton, San Rafael, Palo Alto, and the surrounding cities. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.