The Pros and Cons of Settling Your Personal Injury Case Out of Court
Personal injury incidents can happen in many ways. Car accidents, slip and fall incidents, or medical malpractice are just three examples. The personal injury claims process is different for everyone. The goal of filing a personal injury claim is to secure financial compensation for one’s losses. Losses, otherwise known as damages, can include lost wages, medical expenses, property damages, and more. The majority of personal injury claims will settle without having to go to court. However, not every personal injury claim resolves this way. Other claims will be unable to settle without court involvement.
If you are filing a personal injury claim in Oklahoma, an attorney can advise you on your best options for obtaining the most compensation possible. This could be taking a settlement, or, it could be going to court.
The Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys at the Putnam Law Office can assist you with the claims process, answer your questions, and provide customized legal guidance to help you get the highest amount from your claim.
Settling a Claim Without the Court
There are several reasons why settling a personal injury claim without going to court happens most often and is preferred in many situations. The pros of settling outside of the court include:
- The process of closing a claim goes more quickly.
- Settlement negotiations and final payouts can be kept private.
- Settling without the courts costs less money.
- Agreeing to a settlement and avoiding court can make the claims process less stressful.
- Claimants have a little more control over the outcome and may be able to negotiate to get a fair settlement. There are no guarantees on what will happen when a claim becomes a lawsuit, and the outcome is determined by a judge and jury.
The downside of settling is potentially accepting a lower offer than is actually needed for one’s damages. When this happens, there are no pathways to appeal or to change the outcome. Accepting a settlement and signing off on it essentially closes the claim for good.
When a claim settlement cannot be agreed upon, then a lawsuit may be filed. The process of going to court begins here. There are several phases of the initial stages of a lawsuit, including the complaint and answer portion, discovery, and the filing of motions.
Simply because a lawsuit has been filed does not mean that court is imminent. As one builds their suit, there could be the willingness to take another stab at coming to an agreement without the court. Mediation may be conducted. Mediation is a back-and-forth between each side of a suit, with an unbiased mediator managing things and helping both sides reach an agreement.
If both parties do not agree to go to mediation or they do, but mediation fails, then a day in court is likely to take place. Some of the benefits of going to court include:
- A jury has the potential to award a claimant their full amount of damages or even more than they expected.
- A jury may determine the details of the suit so egregious that they add punitive damages to an award.
- If a claimant secures an unfavorable outcome, they may have the ability to appeal.
Speak to an Attorney at the Putnam Law Office
Whether you settle your claim or go to court, obtaining full and fair compensation is key. For assistance with your claim, please call the Putnam Law Office to schedule a free consultation at (405) 849-9149. We would appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about how we can help you.