personal injury jury verdict in Pittsburgh

How Are Personal Injury Settlements Different from Jury Verdicts?

If you are the victim of an accident, it is imperative that you fully understand your legal options to be able to protect your legal rights as well as claim full financial compensation for your injuries. There are substantial differences between out-of-court settlements and litigation, the two available avenues for settling a personal injury claim.

Given below is a brief look at the claim process along with the pros and cons of settlements and jury verdicts.

Claim Settlement Process 

When someone’s negligence causes an injury to another, the at-fault party can be held liable for damages to the victim, including personal injuries, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Any liability insurance that the at-fault party has, can be used to cover the damages.

Once the victim files a claim, they must consult with a seasoned personal injury attorney to review the claim to determine its appropriate value. The attorney then files a demand letter for the claim, triggering a response from the insurance company in the form of a settlement offer.

This signals the commencement of negotiations between you and your attorney on one side and the at-fault party and their insurance company on the other. The time it takes to settle a personal injury claim depends on a combination of several factors, including the time it might take for you to recover from your injuries.

Many a time, it takes months for the victim and the negligent party to settle. While the circumstances of each case are different, the settlement process can sometimes stretch for a tortuous length of time.

Pros and Cons of Settlement in a Personal Injury Case

One of the good things in the settlement process for a personal injury case is that it does away with the need to go to court. For an injury victim trying to heal from their injuries and coping with their lost earnings is stressful and frustrating enough. An injury victim will definitely want to avoid going to court to escape the stress of this long-drawn-out process.

Although claim settlements can sometimes stretch for months, they are still generally faster than verdicts by jury in court trials. Apart from the savings in the terms of time, effort, and costs, the injured victim also gets their hands on the compensation amount much faster than in a jury trial.

Starting the process of negotiations and agreeing to settle ensures that you will receive compensation, whatever the amount or the time taken to complete the settlement negotiation. In a court trial, it is up to the jury whether you receive damages for your injuries or not. Conversely, the compensation you are awarded in a jury trial could be much more than what you would have agreed to in a settlement.

Court Trials

While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, the few that go to trial, do so for specific reasons. Some of the reasons for the settlement negotiations to break down and the plaintiff being forced towards litigation include:

  • The insurance company disputes their client’s liability and does not offer any compensation
  • The insurance company places part of the responsibility on you for your accident and your subsequent injuries
  • The insurance company offers a compensation amount that is much lower than what the claim seems worth

When the insurance companies do things like these, your attorney may suggest filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurer. But filing a lawsuit is still several steps short of the beginning of a trial. Here are a few initial court processes, before a court trial can begin in earnest:

  • A date is set
  • A judge is assigned to the case
  • Pre-trial discovery
  • Depositions
  • Mediation

The important thing to keep in mind here is that a trial is a lengthy process and takes a long time to commence. This again translates into a longer time for you to recover compensation if the jury does rule in your favor at the end of the trial.

More often than not, the insurance companies agree to settle before a personal injury case makes it to trial. The reason behind this is simple. Insurers know their priority is to minimize losses, and they do not want to take the risk of going into litigation which might result in them paying a much larger amount than the case is worth.

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Caroselli Beachler & Coleman

Since the legal process is wrought with many maneuvers and risks, it is critical to have a seasoned personal injury attorney at your side during your compensation claim journey. Chances are that you will not need to go to trial for the resolution of your claim, but the circumstances surrounding each personal injury case are different.

At Caroselli Beachler & Coleman, we have many decades of experience successfully representing clients for all types of personal injuries in Pennsylvania and around the country. We work closely with our clients, and we fight hard to obtain the compensation they need and deserve. Call us today at 412-567-1232 or message us online for a free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!