Pros and Cons of Settling Out of Court

If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault or harmed because of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. Not only does this process hold the at-fault individual responsible for their actions, but it’s also a means of seeking compensation for your injuries.

However, just because you file a personal injury claim, doesn’t mean you’ll be going to court. In some cases, it may be possible to settle your case without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom. During this process, both parties, their lawyers, and, in some cases, a mediator will negotiate a settlement that best suits everyone involved.

While this may sound simple, settling out of court has advantages and disadvantages you should understand before you begin the process.

Advantages of Settling Out of Court

Aside from the obvious advantage of not having to go to court or stand in front of a judge, settling out of court has plenty of other pros.

  • It’s less stressful. The process of planning for a trial can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. By settling out of court, you’re making an already stressful legal situation a little less worrisome.
  • It saves time and money. Court cases can take months or years to prepare before they ever go to trial. This prolonged legal process can end up costing an exorbitant amount of money in legal fees. For many people, it’s more advantageous to settle out of course than to financially deplete themselves by preparing for a trial.
  • It protects your privacy. When a case goes to trial, the court documents become a public record. This experience can be invasive and harmful for some people, especially if you own a business or live in the public eye. Settling out of court protects your identity and prevents your case from being a headline in the newspaper.
  • It’s more predictable. While nobody can predict the outcome of a case or lawsuit, settling out of court may give you a better sense of what to expect as opposed to having your case decided by a judge and jury.
  • It’s quicker than a court case. Most people in this situation just want it to be over as soon as possible. Settling out of court is the best way to speed up the process so you and your family can move on with your lives.

Disadvantages of Settling Out of Court

Settling out of court isn’t the right move for everyone. There are some downsides, as well.

  • It may not result in the desired outcome. While settling out of court is easier and faster than going to trial, all your requests might not be met. This can leave you feeling unsatisfied and unhappy.
  • It doesn’t raise awareness. While privacy can certainly be an advantage, there may be some cases where you feel the public would benefit from learning about what happened to you.
  • It may result in less compensation than you need. Because settling out of court is quicker, you could continue to accrue more medical bills after your case is settled, leaving you to figure out how to pay for those additional expenses on your own.
  • It may waive your right to future legal action. Generally, once a case is settled out of court, that’s the end of things. If something about the case changes, you discover more evidence, or you want to seek more compensation, you may not be able to do anything about it.
  • It may result in a lower settlement. This is especially true when insurance companies are involved. Insurance providers will offer low settlement amounts in the hopes that you’ll want to avoid going to court to seek the larger amount you may deserve.
  • It doesn’t require an admission of liability. Without taking your case in front of a judge, the defendant will not be required to admit liability for the accident or incident. In order for that to happen, you need to go to trial.

Regardless of whether you want to try to settle out of court or not, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. The team at Mulligan Attorneys can help you through this process by explaining your options and helping you decide how best to proceed. Click here to get in touch with us, or give us a call at 910-763-1100 to schedule a free consultation.