Going to trial vs pursuing a settlement – Which is the better option?
If you are involved in a lawsuit, it is likely to be a lengthy and stressful process. However, it is important to know that the majority of cases are settled out of court rather than proceed to trial. In fact, according to the Government of Canada, 98 per cent of civil suits are settled prior to a trial.
What types of cases are likely to go to trial rather than end in an out-of-court settlement? Jason Katz, Personal Injury and Insurance Lawyer explains:
Settlements are usually faster and more cost-efficient than trials. They are also less stressful for the accident victim who would not need to testify in front of a judge or hear the defence attempt to minimize their injuries and symptoms.
Additionally, the client becomes the decision-maker on the compensation they receive. With their lawyer’s advice, the client may accept or reject the settlement amount that is offered, whereas in a trial they must accept what is decided by the judge or jury.
However, there are some situations where a lawyer may recommend proceeding to trial such as when the other side is not properly acknowledging the risks and is either offering an amount that is too low or not making any offers at all. A judge or jury may decide that the proper compensation is much higher than what was being offered by an insurance company trying to minimize damages.
Beyond the financial implications, a successful verdict at trial may also help an accident victim feel a greater sense of justice or closure when the defendant is found to be responsible for their damages.
Many factors can impact how long a case takes to go through trial including:
The complexity of the case – A straightforward case will likely be completed faster than a complex case where there are a lot of issues, parties, and conflicting evidence.
Severity of the injuries – Cases where the accident victim has a less serious injury that heals are usually completed faster than cases where the injuries are severe and it may take time to understand the long-term implications.
The court system in your jurisdiction – If you live in a community with a high number of ongoing trials, you may need to wait longer for your trial date.
Whether you decide to settle your case or go to trial, you want a lawyer who takes you and your case seriously. You want a lawyer you can develop a genuine bond with, who carries the case file from beginning to end, and who will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. As we say in our slogan, for us, it’s personal.