Trial vs Settlement: Is There a Right Answer?
If someone is injured due to the negligent or reckless answers of another party, they may be able to secure substantial compensation. There are typically two paths to do this: settlement negotiations and litigation. Many people believe that one approach is better than another. However, this is far from accurate. In Michigan personal injury cases, the pros and cons of trial versus settlement could vary by case.
That’s because no two cases are exactly the same. In many instances, a settlement is the best option for everyone involved. Injury victims are often able to secure compensation quickly, while negligent parties and their insurers can avoid the full weight of Michigan law in court. This is why the majority of personal injury cases are settled without a trial. Unfortunately, this path will not always be the right one.
Pros and Cons of Taking a Settlement
When people think of accepting a settlement, it’s often because they want to receive compensation quickly. After involvement in a serious car accident or other disastrous injury, this may seem like the right move. Additionally, there are many other benefits as well. Unfortunately, there are also several drawbacks to going this route.
Advantages of Settlement Over Trial
- Cases are resolved faster
- There’s no option for the defendant to appeal
- Far less expensive than litigation
- Avoids the uncertainty of court decisions
- Private details can remain private
- Compensation is received faster
- Relationships (e.g., liable family members, insurers) can be preserved
Disadvantages of Settlement Over Trial
- Compensation amounts are typically lower
- Settlement offers may pressure an injured party to accept an unfair amount
- There’s no public accountability for the liable party
- No access to evidence means important details may never be known
- Accepting a settlement typically means you waive the right to appeal for further compensation
- Insurers will usually try to undervalue the compensation you deserve
Pros and Cons of Going to Court
People often believe the only point of going to trial is to receive higher compensation. While this is an important benefit, it’s far from the only advantage. Of course, this approach also has issues that injury victims may wish to avoid.
Advantages of Court Over Settlement
- Potential for higher compensation
- Access to evidence that could make your case more valuable
- Litigation creates a public record of the case
- Courts can establish clear liability on the part of at-fault parties
- Injured individuals have a chance to make their voices heard in court
- Cases could potentially set precedents that help future injury victims
- It may be possible to appeal a court decision
Disadvantages of Court Over Settlement
- Trials have the potential to drag on
- Litigation is far more expensive than a settlement due to fees related to court costs, expert witnesses, attorneys, and more
- Litigation is typically a stressful endeavor
- There’s no guarantee you’ll get a positive outcome
- Public record also means public exposure — which could include personal details being revealed
- Court battles can destroy relationships with defendants or an injured party’s insurer
- The demands of a trial could negatively impact a person’s physical and emotional recovery
How to Choose a Trial or Settlement in Michigan Personal Injury Cases
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to a car accident, medical malpractice, dog bite, or any other incident caused by a third party, you likely have an idea of how you want to be compensated. After reviewing the pros and cons of trials versus settlements in Michigan personal injury cases, you probably even have a preferred way of handling your case. However, it’s important to remember that there are other considerations.
Perhaps you’re hoping to get as much money as possible, and this often means litigation would be preferred. However, this route could lead to a long trial. This means it could be months — or even years — before you’re compensated. Even worse, you could end up losing your case. Then again, you may want to end things quickly with a settlement. Unfortunately, insurers might try to take advantage of this and offer unfair compensation.
These nuances and others are why many people choose between a trial or settlement in Michigan personal injury cases only after speaking with an attorney. Not only can a legal professional work to secure a better outcome, but insurance adjusters are more likely to offer fair compensation when you have a lawyer. Let the legal team at Sigal Law Firm help. Contact us today at (248) 220-1234.