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Settle vs. Sue

by  on  News & Resources

If you decide to pursue a personal injury case after an accident or injury, you should be prepared for the feedback and unsolicited advice you’re going to get. Just about all your friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors will have stories to tell you or advice to share about how you should handle your case.

In a personal injury case, you basically have two options — settle or sue. When you settle, you and the person who was responsible for your injuries work out an agreement through your attorneys outside the courtroom, and the responsible party pays you a predetermined amount to quickly end further legal action against him or her. The benefit to the defendant could be less exposure, no press or media attention and fewer penalties than a court or jury may impose.

For you, the benefit could also be less attention drawn to the case and the guarantee of whatever dollar amount or resolution you and your opponent have agreed upon. You also avoid any extensive court fees and costs associated with a lengthy legal battle. But you may be losing out on a higher damage amount if you settle, depending on what happened and what the defendant agrees to pay.

The other option is to sue and take the defendant to court. In court, you will have to present your side of the story to the judge and jury and leave the decision in their hands. A court case, even a personal injury one, can be hard for someone who has been injured.

He or she will have to re-live the accident, the injuries and the stress and strain of living with what happened. For example, a car accident victim who has lost a leg will need to recount the accident and what has changed in his life now that he has been crippled.

In court, the defendant has the opportunity to present his side of the events as well and offer a defense of his actions. In the same car accident example, perhaps the defendant was cut off or blinded by the sun or another obstacle that prevented him from stopping quickly enough to avoid hitting you. Although the accident is still his fault, it is not necessarily negligent and presenting his sorrow and apologies to the jury and the court may turn their opinions in his favor.

Which One Works Best?

According to legal sources, a majority of all personal injury cases are settled before they reach court. Additionally, many of the cases that do end up in court may not have a favorable outcome for the injured party.

A personal injury case is not about vengeance, but rather about what is just and fair. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the extent of your injuries, you may have a compelling case for court or a better opportunity to settle with the defendant. However, the ultimate decision has to be made by you and should be based on what you believe is the right course of action for your case.

For a consultation or more information, contact an attorney at Levine Law, a Denver personal injury law firm, today.