Pros and Cons of Settling
If you are entering civil court to gain compensation for an injury, chances are high that you may be offered an out of court settlement. This is an important decision that should only be made after consultation with your lawyer, who will use their expertise to determine the facts of the case and your chances of winning.
However, there are some pros and cons to settling that should be kept in mind when making the decision.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of settling is the speed. Settling is much quicker than taking the case to trial, and with that comes a host of benefits. For one, you will receive compensation much faster. As a result, outstanding medical bills can be paid off, property damage can be repaired, and you can ensure that you and your family are taken care of financially if you are unable to work as a result of the action. Going to court, on the other hand, can take a long time, and if you do win, you may not receive the compensation immediately.
Additionally, there are many expenses related to going to court that you may be responsible for, whether or not you prevail in court and receive the compensation you deserve. This can include filing fees, expert witness fees, and more. Settling out of court eliminates the need for these upfront costs, thereby lessening the immediate financial burden you may be experiencing, particularly if your income flow is suspended.
There are also emotional ramifications to consider. Going to trial is costly, but can also be the cause of immense stress on your life that can continue for months – potentially even years – as you wait for your case to be heard and judgment made. By settling, you have the peace of mind of knowing exactly how much you receive and that the settlement will be final with no chance of appeal, and the emotional closure that comes with it can help you move on from your trauma faster. Additionally, if there are personal elements to your case that you prefer to be private, settling will ensure that court records remain confidential.
While these benefits are substantial, there is also a major reason not to settle, and that is the amount of compensation that you deserve. By offering a settlement, the defence is generally admitting that there is a chance you could win the case, and are therefore hedging their bets by offering you less than they believe would be awarded to you with a positive judgment.
In addition, depending on the details of your case, a judge or jury may be inclined to award punitive damages, which are levied as a punishment to the defendant and are often used to compensate for emotional damages sustained in the trauma. These punitive damages can be substantial, but are at the trier of fact’s discretion, and so will be unavailable to you if you settle.
Consult with our experienced and dedicated legal team to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.