When you have been injured by someone else’s negligence — such as in a traffic accident or slip and fall incident — the last thing you might need is worrying about going to court. It may sound stressful and costly.
The good news is that your personal injury case is very likely to settle out of court. It is important to note, however, that obtaining fair compensation is so important to your recovery that taking your case to a personal injury trial may be the best option if the involved insurance company shows no interest in negotiating with you fairly.
You can trust your experienced Georgia personal injury attorney to help you navigate the best path forward in your unique case.
Personal Injury Settlement vs. Trial
Personal injury claims are designed to seek compensation for the physical, financial, and emotional losses claimants experience as a result of someone else’s negligence, and they are usually filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Basic categories of loss generally covered by personal injury claims include all the following:
- Property damage, such as to your vehicle in a traffic accident
- Medical bills
- Lost income on the job
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Each of these categories of loss can be extensive and should be carefully explored in your claim.
If your case settles, it means that you – with the skilled legal guidance of your personal injury attorney — and the insurance company handling your claim are able to negotiate terms that fairly address each category of loss you experience. Once you and the insurance provider sign off on a settlement, it finalizes the case.
If your personal injury case goes to court, it means that you were unable to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company, and as a result, you proceeded to file a lawsuit against it that leads to a court date at which your case will be resolved by the presiding judge or jury.
The Pros and Cons of Settling vs. Proceeding to Court
The ideal outcome after being injured by someone else’s negligence is engaging in fair negotiations that lead to a fair settlement that fairly covers your complete losses. When the insurance company isn’t guided by fair dealings, going to court may be necessary. There are, of course, pros and cons to both.
Whether or not to settle
If your case settles, you can expect it to be finalized more quickly, less expensively, and less stressfully — all of which are good things. On the downside, settling often means having to compromise a bit in terms of the total compensation you receive.
Whether or not to go to trial
Conversely, if you go to court, you can expect the process to be more costly, more time-consuming — with more preparation involved — and generally more stressful. On the upside, however, going to court bypasses the insurance company’s delays and cuts to the heart of your case — what you are legally entitled to in terms of compensation. A final note about taking your claim to trial is that you cede control to the court, which means that decision-making power will no longer be in your hands.
Your Ability to Negotiate
It is important to point out that even if you do file a lawsuit against the insurance company handling your claim, it does not mean negotiations must come to a halt. Until the court hands down a decision, you and the insurance company retain the right to settle. In fact, the insurance company may be testing you to see how far you are willing to go before determining how deep it needs to dig in terms of negotiations. This means that filing a lawsuit against it may motivate the insurance company to reconsider its overall position.
In Georgia, you have only two years from the date of the injury-causing accident to file a lawsuit. To begin, you’ll need to demonstrate that all the necessary elements of your claim are accounted for, including:
- The other party owed you a duty of care. For example, motorists bear a considerable duty of care for everyone else on the road.
- The other party breached that duty of care, such as if the driver in the above example was impaired or speeding.
- The other party’s negligence caused you to be injured and to suffer legal damages — or losses — as a result.
As time drags on — and if the insurance company shows no sign of budging — filing a lawsuit becomes more and more likely, and if you do go to trial, the process will be lengthier still.
An Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Larrison Law Firm Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys have a wealth of experience handling challenging cases like yours. Learn more about how we can help obtain a settlement or proceed with a trial on your behalf. Contact us or call us today at 770-626-7895.
Personal Injury Trial FAQs
Shouldn’t I just settle?
Settling for less than the amount to which you are entitled can interfere with your ability to reach your fullest recovery.
How do I know if going to court is a good idea?
This is a matter to resolve with your trusted personal injury attorney, who will help you better understand the strengths and challenges of your case.
Can I handle my case myself?
Without a dedicated personal injury attorney, your chances of obtaining fair compensation decrease considerably.