Maximizing a Personal Injury Settlement
Feb 21, 2018 - Personal Injury
Even those who are relatively unfamiliar with the process of civil litigation are likely to have about the concept of “settlement,” though experiences and perceptions can vary quite significantly depending on the context. For example, some people associate settlements with negative press and an implication of wrongdoing, such as when a prominent celebrity or politician settles a claim with a victim of abuse. This negative perception is rather displaced from reality, however.
In real-world terms, settlement is extremely common. In fact, legal industry observers estimate that roughly ninety to ninety-five percent of lawsuits are resolved through a negotiated settlement, before trial litigation even begins. Why are settlements so common in personal injury litigation? Quite simply, there are significant benefits to a settlement for the parties involved in a dispute, particularly in a dispute that involves a personal injury claim.
Settlement is Usually Beneficial
Forms of alternative dispute resolution — such as negotiated settlement — are popular because they allow the parties to circumvent the expense and bureaucracy associated with the trial litigation process. Trial litigation can be expense, emotionally challenging, and costly from a time perspective. Trial litigation is also risky. Even if you have a strong case, there is always the risk of “losing” a case. In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in the country, there is an adversarial court system where you either win or you lose. If you lose, there is no damage recovery.
Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and you have suffered significant losses as a result. Perhaps you have been rendered incapable of working for a period of a year or two, and you must undergo a series of surgeries to correct your various injuries. Your costs rise, your income flattens, and you take on significant debt. If you were to go through standard trial litigation, not only would there be a baseline risk of potentially not obtaining damages, but it could take you a year or more to fully resolve your case, especially if the defendant’s attorneys attempt to cause delays.
By negotiating a settlement, you can not only obtain a “certain” recovery, but you can also ensure that the case is resolved and the damages are paid out in a more timely and efficient manner. It’s also worth noting that trials are public, so if you’d like to keep litigation matters private, a settlement is a great way to do so.
The Key to a “Winning” Settlement is a Strong Case
Maximizing a settlement is a matter of putting forth a strong case. If you can demonstrate that you have a “winning” case — in other words, that you are not only likely to be awarded damages if the case were to go to trial, but that you are also likely to be awarded significant damages — then the defendant will be forced into a vulnerable bargaining position. The more dangerous you make your lawsuit, the more that the defendant will be forced to accept a settlement as their best option (and will have to negotiate on your terms).
Settlements benefit from certain factors. If you have a particularly severe injury, or if your legal case is “airtight,” then your settlement value is likely to skyrocket. In some cases, the defendant’s conduct may be so egregious that the court could ostensibly award bonus punitive damages. That, too, will raise the value of your settlement.
Contact a Bethlehem Personal Injury Lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC
Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our experienced attorneys have litigated claims on behalf of injured clients for over three decades, and achieved successful results in both trial verdicts and settlements. We are always prepared for trial litigation. This approach has served us well at the negotiating table, as opposing counsel understand that we are ready and willing to aggressively represent our client’s interests at trial, if need be.
Call (888) 777-7098 to connect to an experienced Bethlehem personal injury lawyer here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC. Initial consultation is free.