Personal Injury litigation is usually harshly contested by an insurance company or a corporate defendant. However, even considering this sobering fact, damage recovery does not always require you to go to trial and receive a jury verdict. The vast majority of cases are settled out of court. Yes, you need and you should, absolutely, have an attorney. You will usually have to file a lawsuit as opposed to settling the case at the claims level with an insurance adjuster. Your lawyer will know how to do that and will advise you whether it is best to file suit. Even after suit is filed, most cases are still settled without a trial. Why? There is no one answer, but the biggest one is that a settlement reduces your litigation costs and eliminates the uncertainty of a trial. No one, not even the most experienced attorneys, can accurately predict what a judge or jury will do with your case or another like yours.
Also, since the judge’s docket must be cleared to permit your case to go to trial, it is difficult to get a trial date in most states, counties and/or cities. Thus, settlement of your case will, almost always, result in “faster” money than waiting for or pursuing a case to trial. Settlement allows you to control an otherwise unpredictable outcome. While you should choose to settle only if you feel that settlement is in your best interest, you will not be at the mercy of strangers (judges or jurors) in determining your fate.
Before settling any personal injury lawsuit, you should retain, or, at least, consult, with an attorney who has experience handling the type of case you are pursuing. Ask him to gather evidence and analyze it before agreeing to resolve any personal injury case. “Quick money” is usually inadequate settlement dollars. A case filed timely, in court, with appropriate time to gather evidence through a process known as “discovery”, will assist your attorney in providing you with an appropriate range for you to consider the fair and adequate settlement of your case. If you are seriously injured and need treatment or long term care or assistance, these medical and assisted care expenses may take awhile to develop; early resolution will cheat you out of damages and expenses that you incur after settlement. Yes, you can consider and add future damages to your settlement negotiations, but it is often difficult to predict what those damages might be. You may wish to wait until you have completed treatment or have fallen into a routine, with routine, predictable, expense, before considering settlement.