How to Resolve Your Case: Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Greenville, SC Explain Whether You Should Settle or Go to Trial
One of the most important decisions a person can make concerning their personal injury lawsuit is whether they should settle or go to trial.
After all, approximately 95% of all civil cases (including personal injury cases) will settle before trial. This is important because it often means that a victim of a car crash, slip and fall, dog bite, or another type of injury-causing accident will get their money faster and without the threat of appeal. Some people may even say that “You gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ’em” is applicable in lawsuits, too.
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Is it Better to Settle or Go to Trial?
Although there are many positives to settling, our experienced personal injury lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina, know that it is crucial to know when to go to trial to maximize the recovery for a client.
That’s why the Hammack Law Firm prepares every case to go to trial. We do this no matter how likely it is that the case may settle, even if a defense lawyer or insurance carrier has already offered money.
Even though we are compassionate toward our clients and their families, we will not let insurance companies and defense lawyers protect dangerous drivers, hide dangerous conditions on a property, or allow vicious dogs to roam freely. So while some other law firms may prefer to settle and avoid a fight in trial, we take a page out of Teddy’s book. We “speak softly and carry a big stick” when handling all personal injury cases in South Carolina.
The Advantageous of Settling Your Case
The truth is, there are many advantages to settling your case. This is why the majority of cases do settle. Some of the benefits of settling your case include the following:
1. You May Receive Money Sooner
We can almost hear the famous jingles about how to get your money now… the ones heard everywhere on the planet (and from outer space, per Jedi reports). As annoying as those jingles can be, the truth is people who settle their cases often get paid more quickly than those who go to trial. Sometimes a settlement could come during negotiations with an adjuster or law firm. Other times a settlement could come right after a lawsuit, after depositions, or after motion practice. These are all often earlier than a trial and allow a victim to recover compensation quickly. However, stay tuned to find out why going to trial may still be the better option.
2. You May Feel More Control Over your Fate
Another reason to settle is to keep some control over the outcome instead of allowing a judge or jury to decide what you will (or won’t) get. Often this means giving up something, such as getting a higher settlement in the end, if you hired an experienced and trial-hardened lawyer like one of ours. However, settling allows you to guarantee that you’ll get a certain amount.
3. You Can Avoid Appeals
Let’s face it, appeals take a long time. Even the savviest lawyer will not be able to push a case through an appeal. A lot of work goes into an appeal from a judicial side, which delays the process. If you have a potential question or issue in your case, settling can help avoid an appeal.
Note, it can even mean that settling AFTER a trial victory is a good idea too! Most people do not realize this, but you may win a trial, but the other party may want to appeal a ruling or issue. That could delay your payment, as there is an automatic stay on paying out a money judgment in South Carolina unless a court orders otherwise. However, that interest will keep accruing. Sometimes it makes sense to settle your case to forego a part of the interest (or even a part of the verdict) to get your money faster without having to go through a time-consuming and possibly risky appeal.
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Disadvantages to Settling Your Case – When to Go to Trial!
There are advantages to settling your case. But, there are many disadvantages to not going to trial. Some of the disadvantages of settling and why you should go to trial include the following:
1. You Are Giving Up Money
The truth is, if you win at trial, you are much more likely to get a higher settlement amount than if you settle outside of court, especially if you have a lawyer experienced in winning in trial, like ours.
You are likely giving up money to settle before trial, except in situations where the defendant’s insurance policy is maxed out (i.e., it is a $100,000 policy and you are offered $100,000), you do not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, and the defendant does not have assets you can seize. Adjusters and defense lawyers give a discount for not taking the risk for trial. Thus, despite the advantages of settling, you’re giving up some financial compensation to do it.
Solution: Keep your cards close and carry that big stick! You can do that by hiring an experienced trial lawyer like ours at Hammack Law. Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers know we are not afraid to go to trial to protect our client’s rights. We will fight for our clients and will not let big corporations put profits over our clients’ well-being. When you hire personal injury lawyers in Greenville, SC, like ours, you get a firm that stands ready to fight to get what is yours.
2. You Create A Bad Precedent
When you settle your car accident case with a broken arm as a middle-aged male for X-amount of money, you have just given the insurance adjuster the ability to tell the next person with similar facts and demographics that their case is worth X-amount. Sounds fair, right?
Remember, settling often means giving up a discount for your recovery, and that means X-amount is usually less than what you can get at trial, which might really be XYZ-amount. It may be easy to say, “So what? I won’t break my arm again,” and that may be true for you, but maybe not for a family member, your child, a friend, or a co-worker. And truth be told, while we hate to see it happen again, some of our clients do get hurt again and always come back to us. That’s when an insurance adjuster could say, “Well you took X-amount last time for a broken arm, so this injury is not as severe and worth less…”
It happens! Do not let bad precedent harm you or your family, friends, and others you care about. Fight back and get what is yours with our experienced personal injury lawyers.
3. The Defendant Doesn’t Learn
When you settle, you are also letting a defendant off the hook. Well, yes – the defendant will likely have increased insurance premiums. And yes, a defendant may have other issues related to their business, license, or other factors. But without going to trial and making a defendant face the risk of a large verdict, you are giving the defendant (and the insurance carrier) a way out.
4. Derivative Claims Often Don’t Get Paid
A derivative claim is a claim made by a spouse or another dependent that essentially has a symbiotic relationship with the underlying claim. Said differently, if one spouse is hurt in a car accident, the other spouse may have a claim for loss of consortium, services, society, and other normal spousal relationship activities like loss of eating out, vacations, childcare, loss of intimacy, and other things.
When you settle, most defendants and insurance adjusters won’t give anything for that. You get a lump sum, and that’s it.
However, when you go to trial, a verdict sheet can specifically ask for an award of these damages. A jury could be soulless and say no, but many times, a jury will put some figure in there to compensate a spouse or another dependent, if there has been a claim and the evidence supports it. That’s why going to trial helps you AND your spouse recover the maximum amount you are entitled to.
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Call Our Trial Ready and Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Greenville, SC
Settling is great. But winning at trial is often better. After a personal injury accident, you need to get a lawyer that will not pressure you into settling your case—especially when it is better to go to trial and win. That means you also need a lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to trial and has a history of winning at trial.
That’s why you should call us.
Having a personal injury lawyer that is ready to go to trial – and defense lawyers and insurance adjusters know that – can help a victim and his or her family get more money in a settlement or at trial. It can put the scare into a client and help a case settle. Our trial-ready and experienced personal injury lawyers in Greenville, SC at Hammack Law handle every case like it is going to trial. We are not afraid to tell a judge we need a trial date, and we are not afraid to go before a jury to present your case.
Defense lawyers and insurance carriers in the Upstate know that this is our reputation, which means that they may offer you what you truly deserve upfront to settle when they wouldn’t offer anything close to that if you didn’t have us to represent you. It’s why we are different and why we are successful.
To learn more about how we can help you, call us today to schedule a FREE case evaluation.