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Settlement Vs. Trial: Which Is Right For You?

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How do you determine if you have a personal injury case?

Under Texas law, there are many categories of personal injury damages that allow an individual or multiple individuals to initiate a lawsuit.  For example, wrongful death, medical malpractice, slip or trip and fall, lack of security, work-related injuries, boating accidents, and auto accidents.  If another party contributes to the injury of a person in any way — directly or indirectly, they may be at least partially liable for those injuries.  This is the basic premise of a personal injury claim.

Obviously, there are times when it is difficult to tell who or what may have caused an incident that led to injuries.  This is when thorough investigation of all the facts of the incident must be done.  Skilled personal injury attorneys know how to uncover details and leave no stone unturned.  Injury cases are not easy to pursue in most cases.  And so, an injury attorney must be adept at finding hidden facts and extracting information from unlikely or unwilling sources.

The first thing that many people ask is, will I need to go to trial?  The truth is, in Texas and anywhere in America, the majority of personal injury claims are handled through settlement.  Trials are very costly and time-consuming. Both sides of an injury lawsuit are motivated to resolve the case without going to trial.  There are advantages and disadvantages of going through the legal trial process.

Sometimes, the plaintiff in the case may question why their injury attorney is pushing for a settlement.  Why don’t we take this case to trial?  Can’t you potentially get more compensation from a trial? Well, the truth is, trials are risky. Our McAllen, Texas injury firm shares with you here: the differences between settlement and trial.

Benefits of Settlement

It’s less risky than heading to court (you could lose and get zero)

It’s less expensive (less time on the part of the attorney/law firm)

It’s less time consuming and can happen faster, whereas trials can drag out over a year or more

It’s not as hard on the plaintiff and their loved ones – not as emotionally and physically draining as a trial in court

Get your life back to normal sooner/ Move on sooner

As you can see, a settlement is a sure thing – money in hand.  And if a trial outcome is uncertain, your injury attorneys will recommend accepting a reasonable settlement.

It typically takes a year, or longer for a court date to be set for a trial.  So if you are holding out for that, it means waiting longer to be compensated for your expenses, which may still be ongoing.  Now consider that juries are individuals, with their own thought processes and belief systems.  What seems obvious to you, or fair to you, may not be obvious or fair to them.  You can choose to go to trial and risk LOSING.

Now, if your case is worth millions and your settlement offer is $650,000, then your injury attorney may decide that the trial is the only way to go.

A skilled injury lawyer evaluates each case

Obviously, your personal injury attorney wants to be successful.  He or she wins when you win.  So your lawyer will review all the details of your settlement with you and guide you in deciding whether accepting the amount is the right decision.  Often, injury attorneys counter the settlement offer with an offer you WOULD accept, when the defendant’s offer is too low.

It pays to ask your injury attorney questions at the beginning of your case, to get their thoughts on potential settlement.  Note that sometimes, even the most experienced lawyers sometimes call on outside help, by consulting mediators or facilitators to help resolve a settlement.  When all attempts at mediation and settlement fail, then an injury case goes to trial. 

Benefits of a Trial

Possibility of receiving a higher/the highest possible amount for your claim

A chance to document all details of your claim (for the record)

The ability to appeal the decision

As you can see, wise legal counsel is critical in any type of wrongful death, auto accident, or injury claim.  Tijerina Law Firm serves Mcallen and Brownsville, Texas, helping the injured seek justice and compensation. We welcome all inquiries and offer free case evaluations.