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The Pros and Cons of Settling Your Personal Injury Case Out of Court

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

There are many good reasons to settle your personal injury case without going to trial, but there are also some disadvantages to doing so. This blog will discuss the pros and cons of settling your personal injury case out of court. You could work with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney whether your case gets resolved by settlement or goes to trial.

Privacy Issues

You might be the kind of person who likes to keep your private business to yourself. Court cases are public records, which means that there could be dozens of total strangers in the courtroom during your trial, listening to your testimony and seeing the evidence. At the end of the case, the jury verdict gets reported and the public can read it. Insurance companies and lawyers can read about the facts and the amount of the jury verdict. 

If your case settles, it does not get reported. The negotiations do not become public record. Often, the insurer requires the plaintiff to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of the settlement.

Trials Are Unpredictable

That witness who sounded so confident before might change their story on the witness stand or be so weak at trial that their testimony is useless. The judge might not allow some of your crucial evidence in at trial, even though they should. A trial is unpredictable, so if you get a good settlement offer, you might want to eliminate the uncertainty and settle your personal injury case.

You Can Get Your Money Sooner with a Settlement than a Trial

Personal injury lawsuits can drag on for years. The pretrial phase can take many months with multiple hearings. When the case is finally ready for trial, the judge’s calendar might not have an available trial setting for three or four months or longer. 

Often, the original trial date gets continued, meaning postponed and rescheduled, at least one time. Every time this happens, you can expect another three to six months to get added to the timeline.

If you settle your case, you could have your money, minus the litigation expenses and your attorney’s percentage for their legal fees, within a month or so. Also, when there is a settlement, neither side can file an appeal or declare bankruptcy. 

The Golden Ticket

If you settle your personal injury claim, even for what you feel is a fair amount, you will never know if you would have gotten more at trial. California juries can be generous to people who get hurt because of the actions of others.

Holding the Defendant Accountable Publicly

People who get their day in court can feel vindicated by the experience. They got to stand up in public and say that what the defendant did to them was wrong. They got a jury to agree with them.

When a personal injury case reaches a quiet out-of-court settlement, the plaintiff might feel as if the wrongful actions of the defendant got swept under the rug. The defendant goes on with their life as if nothing happened, while you, the plaintiff, might have to live with life-long disabilities because of your injuries.

You will want to talk with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney about whether you should resolve your case by a settlement or a trial. We offer a free initial consultation. You can reach out to us today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.