How Do You Determine Whether To Take A Personal Injury Case To Trial Or Not?
It depends on the time value of money balanced with the known and the unknown of a case. The time value of money in a personal injury matter can be viewed as the concept that money that’s available in the present or near future is more beneficial to the recipient the sooner it’s received. For instance, once an acceptable settlement is reached, that money is going to be in the person’s hands within a couple of weeks. If a case goes to trial, compensation may not be seen for months or years. Also, some cases that go to trial may result in a lower monetary award than the initial proposed settlement amount.
During the settlement process, individuals know the amount of compensation that the insurance company is offering. However, if the person filing the claim decides to go to trial in front of a judge or jury, the outcome is unknown until the trial concludes. Not knowing the result of a case at trial can be very daunting and frightening to people. It is also risky because there’s no guarantee that the compensation will be equal to, greater than, or less than your previous settlement offer.
The judge or the jury decides on the amount of money to award during the trial. The person thinking about going to trial has to weigh the known and unknown facts of their case. Do you want to take your case to a jury? A jury can be finicky, quirky, and opinionated. They are a jury of your peers. They are people who may or may not want to be serving on the jury. They may sympathize and empathize with your situation or they could dislike the fact that you are seeking to get paid for an accident. They may cheer or root for the individual versus the evil corporation that put a bad product into the marketplace or the jury could think you are trying to retire and get rich quick by suing a corporation. These are simply a few factors to consider. If you’ve been wronged, and you want to have your voice heard, there may be a reason to go to court. The jury may wish to side with you and become a part of correcting a wrong.
However, you should determine the time value of money in your case. There are times that I advise my clients to take the settlement, while there are other circumstances that require a resolution in court. It truly depends on the nature of the case and whether the time value of money is beneficial in the present, or if the case is better off in front of a judge and jury.
How Can Litigating A Personal Injury Case Impact The Settlement Offer?
Clients need to decide if a trial is within their comfort level before proceeding in court. I have often settled numerous cases on the eve of a trial. My clients and I have received or rejected offers after seating 12 jurors, and depending on the insurance company or defense attorney, settlement offers remain open right up until the first witness is called.
Other times, insurance adjusters and attorneys will close the settlement talks and there is no turning back – going to trail has been decided. Once a trial is the chosen route, costs will rise. Aside from Court costs – surgeons, doctors, specialists, CPAs, actuaries, and anyone else that is needed to testify will have to be paid for their time out of work to testify at court to corroborate records and treatments.
Expenses obtained from court costs and professionals can add up to thousands of dollars and must be paid beforehand. Going forward to trial can prove extremely costly, and there is still no guarantee that the compensation awarded at court will be sufficient or equal to the original settlement offer amount.
Determining the costs of going to court and the likelihood of recovering those costs while still having money in your pocket as payment for pain, suffering and emotional damages is crucial.
For more information on Litigating A Personal Injury Case In NH, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (603) 880-1300 today.
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