Settlement or Litigation?
Experienced Atlanta and Savannah Injury Lawyers Discuss Settlements and Litigation
Helping Georgia injury victims make the best choices they can for their futures
One of the questions we hear the most often from our clients is, “Will I have to go to trial?” The decision between settling your case and litigating it is an important one, and at Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we believe it is our job to help you make that decision based on your best interests. Here, we will look at both options, and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each, so you can have the information you need to make the choice that is right for you.
What is a settlement?
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are the plaintiff. The person or entity against whom you have filed the suit is the defendant. A settlement is an offer of monetary compensation, often negotiated between the two parties, that would allow both parties to avoid going to trial. You might be offered a settlement:
- By an insurance company after you make a claim for damages, but before you file a lawsuit.
- After a lawsuit is filed, but before the trial occurs.
- At any point during the trial process.
- After the trial has finished, but before a judge or jury has rendered a verdict.
What is litigation?
Litigation is “The process of resolving disputes by filing or answering a complaint through the public court system.” In short, litigation is the process of going to trial. Sometimes, a settlement is part of the litigation process. Other times, litigation continues up to the point where a verdict is rendered and the outcome – i.e., the award – is ordered by a judge.
When should you take a settlement offer?
Generally speaking, you should never accept a settlement offer before having an attorney review it. Many times, the insurance company will offer you the lowest possible amount of compensation they can; sometimes, they offer nothing at all. So, you want to have a lawyer review the offer before you agree to anything.
If you and your lawyer agree that the offer is just and in your best interests, you can take the offer. If not, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company’s lawyers to procure a better settlement figure.
Pros and cons for settling a case
- Less time spent waiting for a resolution.
- Less time spent waiting to receive your money.
- Often less expensive to pursue.
- Your name and/or how much money you receive can be kept confidential.
- Often less stressful for you and your family.
- No fear of appeals, because settlements are final.
- Less compensation is likely.
- The defendant will not have to admit wrongdoing.
- You may be barred from discussing the outcome of your case.
- You cannot appeal if the trial does not go the way you had hoped.
When you opt to go to trial?
If the defendant is refusing to pay you fair compensation – or any compensation – then you may wish to continue to trial. Sometimes, this is the only way to hold the negligent party accountable.
Going to trial may be your best option if:
- The insurance company refuses to “play ball.”
- Your case is an example of widespread negligence or wrongdoing by a company, which you wish to expose.
- You and your lawyer believe you will be treated more fairly by a jury.
There are drawbacks to pursuing litigation, though. Going to trial can be a lengthy process, and there is no guarantee that you will win. Trial verdicts are also a matter of public record, which means anyone can access the outcome.
HLM lawyers prepare every case we take for trial, but we never force or coerce our clients into going that route. We do what is in your best interests – always.
The Georgia personal injury law firm you can trust
Harris Lowry Manton LLP offers comprehensive representation to injury clients in Atlanta, Savannah, and throughout Georgia. We are fierce negotiators and trial-tested attorneys who fight for our clients. If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, we can help you review your options, and make the best choice for your needs. To schedule your free initial consultation, please call our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or complete our contact form.