SETTLE v. TRIAL – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
If you have been injured by someone else in a car accident, trucking accident, slip and fall, or in any other way, Florida provides you may be entitled to financial compensation. Financial compensation is available for the injury, pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, inconvenience, and for loss of capacity for enjoyment of life. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages due to time missed from work.
Receiving compensation for your injuries depends on a variety of factors. Those factors include the comparative fault of the parties, availability of insurance, and relatedness of injuries to the event. Therefore, these and other factors depend on the facts of your case. This makes every case unique. However what does not change is how injury cases are generally handled.
After an injury, your attorney will likely take whatever steps are necessary to investigate the incident and insurance availability. This may include interviewing witnesses, collecting physical or electronic evidence, or hiring experts. At some point, your attorney will submit a claim to the insurance company in an attempt to resolve your injury case. Whether your case resolves without the filing of a lawsuit depends on some factors which we are not covering in this blog. However, if no settlement is reached the next step is to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
SHOULD YOU FILE A SETTLE OR GO TO TRIAL?
The filing of a lawsuit is not something car accident or injury victims should take lightly. There are many pitfalls you may face during the course of a lawsuit. These include the stress of litigation, the length of litigation, and other mechanisms which may expose you to paying fees and costs to the other attorney. However, after you have filed a lawsuit one big decision remains – do you resolve or do you go to trial.
When determining whether to the settle your case or whether to try your case in front of a judge and jury there are several factors you should consider. While not an exhaustive list, you should consider the following:
Length of Time to Get to Trial.
Filing a lawsuit and getting to trial is not like what you see on TV. It is a lengthy process. Judges typically handle various types of cases and have large caseloads. Many of those cases are asking the judge for trial dates as well. Trials are only one aspect of a case a judge will oversee. More often the judge is called upon to make rulings on discovery, pretrial motions, or other issues that arise. This results in large workloads that allow most judges to set aside an average of 1 week per month for trials. A typical car accident or injury case will take 3-5 days at trial. This means only 1 car accident or injury case will be tried during this period. As a result, it is not uncommon to receive an initial trial date 6 – 18 months out.
Exposure to Paying Fees and Costs.
As a car accident or injury case progresses, you may be exposed to potentially paying fees and costs of the other party. For instance, Florida Statute Section 768.79 provides that any party can serve an offer to resolve their case against the other party. However, if the other party rejects the offer and the case proceeds to trial, depending on the amount of the Final Judgment, either party may owe the other fees and costs. As such, there is a way you can “win” at trial but ultimately lose. This typically occurs when you obtain a final judgment in your favor but it is an amount that makes you responsible for paying the other side’s fees and costs.
Likelihood of Success at Trial.
Ultimately, trials come down to one thing – which side does a jury believe. Jurors make their determinations on which witnesses they believe are more truthful and what the physical evidence shows. However, Florida Statute 768.81 allows jurors to split liability between the parties however they wish if they believe both have some fault. In a tough case, an injury victim should examine their case taking into account tough liability or causation issues. Failing to factor these into your decision on whether to accept, reject or make an offer to resolve may result in engaging in faulty analysis of your case.
Settlement Value of Case Now v. at Trial.
An overwhelming amount of cases will resolve before trial. In 2018, 48,145 new injury cases were filed. Only 465 injury cases went to jury trial – less than 1%. There is a good reason for this. Jury trial wins are not guaranteed. In addition to the factors above, there are endless opportunities to resolve your case before taking your chance at trial. Settlement offers before trial provides a guaranteed recovery. Jury verdicts do not. However, even if a jury verdict is obtained, it is often reduced for mandatory deductions which give settlements hidden, increased value.
Deciding to resolve or go to trial on your car accident or injury case is an important one. If you have been injured in a car accident, trucking accident, slip and fall, or any other way, you need an attorney who understands how to navigate your case. You need an attorney who will fight for you but will also provide you with honest analysis of your case. The decision to resolve your case or go to trial is yours alone. However, you should make these decisions only after in-depth analysis of your case with your attorney considering all factors which may impact your decision.
At Presser Law, P.A., we pride ourselves on maximizing our clients’ recoveries and providing our clients with straight forward analysis.
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If you have been injured in a car accident or recently lost a loved on, contact Presser Law for a free case review with an attorney to determine your legal rights. Put my experience to work for you. For over 10 years I have represented car accident and injury victims throughout Central Florida in their times of need and I would be honored to help you as well.Click For Free Case Review
About Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney Justin H. Presser
Justin H. Presser is an award-winning lawyer and founder of Presser Law, P.A. representing clients in the areas of personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death and more. With an office located in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Presser Law, P.A., proudly services clients throughout Central Florida including the following areas: Orange County including Orlando, Ocoee, Doctor Phillips, Apopka, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Maitland, College Park, Thornton Park; Seminole County including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Casselberry, Chuluota; Lake County including Clermont, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, Sorrento; and Brevard County including Melbourne, Merritt Island, Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay.
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