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South Carolina Personal Injury Q&A: Is It Better to Settle or Go to Trial?

South Carolina Personal Injury Q&A: Is It Better to Settle or Go to Trial?

| Dec 11, 2013

At some point in an injury case, you might be confronted with a settlement.  Settlements are made to avoid court action and trials.  There is no clear cut answer for whether or not you should take a settlement - it is a personal decision that varies from case to case.  Here are some things to consider when deciding whether you should settle out of court or go to trial .

Settlement Pros

-          You get paid quicker and you know what you'll be getting.  A settlement is often a direct offer and is meant to be a quick exit from the case .  Because of this, you will know how much you are getting and it will be relatively soon - no need to wait for a ton of paperwork.

-          The case is over quicker.  Many people find the legal proceedings to be stressful and worrisome.  A settlement offers a way to get out of the case quickly so that life can return to normal.

-          Settling can be cheaper.  Instead of paying court fees for an extended amount of time while you are in trial, a settlement is one-time deal that is much cheaper in comparison to a year long case .

Settlement Cons

-          Your settlement might be less that you would expect.  While the claim might estimate a certain dollar amount ($10,000, for example), a settlement will take into consideration the amount in court fees and other expenditures that would have happened in the court case.  This could result in a diminished settlement.

-          Settlements often include a clause that the person you are settling with is relieved of any wrong-doing .  This can mean that you are not able to speak about the case, especially any injuries or negative issues

Trial Pros

-          If you have experienced very negative effects from your accident, a trial can make sure that there is a larger admission of damages.  Because a jury will be deciding the amount of compensation based on the details of the case, they might offer a larger amount in damages.

-          If your injuries are ongoing or you are not fully aware of the extent of your injuries, a trial can add a longer timeline for those issues to be sorted out.  This is important because you do not want to agree to a settlement, only to find out that your injuries are much more serious than you had originally thought .

Trial Cons

-          Trials are lengthy ordeals - the process will take time.

-          Trials are primarily about legal matters, not necessarily your specific case.  This could be frustrating, but it is the lawyer's job to work through these legal processes to make sure everything is in order and fits with the justice system.

There are obviously many more factors that go into deciding between a settlement or going to trial.  These are only a few pros and cons to think about.  Each person's scenario is different, however, so it is important to think through what your goals are and discuss them with your lawyer.  George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can help with this - call us anytime for a free case evaluation .  We help people in Charleston, Greenville, Columbia, and all across South Carolina with auto accident, workers' compensation, and social security disability cases. 

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