Three Questions to Ask When Deciding Whether to Settle Your Personal Injury Case out of Court

When you've been injured through someone else's negligence, you deserve compensation. But how do you go about getting that compensation? Do you take the settlement offered to you, or do you drag the individual or business into court over the matter? Here are a few questions to consider that may help you decide where you stand when offered a mind-boggling sum of money to stay out of court.

1. Will I get a better deal in court?

If you're really short on money, you may think that waiting for the court's decision is best because you could score a higher sum then. However, you may not. Talk to your lawyer about his or her best prediction for what might happen and whether or not this is a good offer. Ask if the company is likely to make a higher offer later as the court date nears, or if this is the best you're likely to get. Plus, even if taking your case to court is likely to score you a slightly higher sum, you need to take into account these factors as well:

  • Going ahead with the case will cost you in time, stress, and lawyer fees at the very least 
  • Even if your lawyer thinks you have a good chance of winning, there's no way to predict the future with 100% accuracy
  • If you're in debt, taking some money now and paying it off can be a better deal than taking more money later after interest has accrued

2. Do I want to warn others against this situation?

Another reason you may wish to proceed with the case is if there's a risk that what happened to you might happen to someone else. Going to court can help get the word out, perhaps allowing other people to escape injury. However, this isn't as effective a form of publicity as you might imagine; hundreds of court cases are settled every day and nobody hears about all of them, so you'd have to have a pretty famous case to effectively warn a wide segment of the population.

3. What is my goal in this case?

If you're just in the case to win back some money for medical bills and reimbursement for lost work hours, taking the settlement is often the best way to go. On the other hand, if you feel that the company or individual has intentionally wronged you and you're out for revenge, taking them to court can be a really great way to inconvenience them (at the expense of also inconveniencing yourself, however). 

Of course, this article is not legal advice, so talk to a lawyer like Trump & Trump about the possibility of taking the offered settlement and, if possible, sleep on it before making the final decision. In some cases, going to court may be the best or only way for you to win reparation, but, in a lot of other situations, taking the settlement can handily pay your bills, fulfilling your goals for the case.