Every year, thousands of people suffer personal injuries due to the fault of another. While the majority of the public’s concept of a lawsuit is the climax of a jury trial, many cases, including Nevada personal injury cases, never see the inside of a courtroom. This is because a majority of personal injury lawsuits settle before trial. There are benefits for both the plaintiff and the defendant when deciding to settle a case. That being said, not all cases should be settled out of the court room as others require the process of going before a judge and jury for the defendant to reasonably compensate the injured victim.
Before deciding whether or not to settle your Nevada personal injury case, it is important to understand what settling the matter entails. A settlement can as early as when you first put the defendant on notice of your claim or even after a jury has rendered a verdict. Most cases settle somewhere between those two extremes. Once a lawsuit has been filed, the defendant hires an attorney to respond to the complaint and both sides begin to prepare their side of the case.
A settlement saves time, money, and work by avoiding a full blown trial in the courtroom. Because they also benefit the courts by clearing up their docket, courts often encourage parties to explore settlement talks prior to trial. In general terms, a settlement is an exchange of money in return for forever dropping the lawsuit. Settlement negotiations sometimes involve a third-party neutral who helps both sides find common ground.
Pros and Cons of Settlements
There are several reasons why settling a Nevada personal injury case before going to trial can be beneficial, including:
Control and certainty: Going to trial always involves the risk that a judge or jury may rule in the defendant’s favor. A settlement eliminates risk and gives the plaintiff greater control over the terms and the final outcome of the case;
Less time: While court procedures can take months (at best) and years (at worst), a settlement can be much faster and put money in the plaintiff’s pocket more quickly;
Less expense: Personal injury attorneys’ fee agreements typically entitle reimbursement of costs related to the case. A trial involves much more expense than a settlement negotiation, which, in turn, means less money for the plaintiff in the end.
At the same time, there may be reasons to push a case through trial because settling is not beneficial. Some potential reasons to reject a settlement and pursue trial include:
The settlement amount being offered is low when compared to the amount the plaintiff believes is owed to him or her based on the facts of the case and typical payouts on similar cases;
The defendant’s bad behavior was so egregious, the plaintiff wants to expose this at trial and go after bad faith and punitive damages;
The defendant’s dishonesty or bad faith at negotiations makes the settlement unattractive;
The plaintiff wants the results of the litigation to be public to encourage more careful behavior in the community (often as a condition of settlement the defendant will insist on confidentiality);
The plaintiff wants attorney's fees, which are rarely a part of a settlement agreement.
Nevada Personal Injury Attorneys
The Nevada personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau have experience representing clients across the state. These skilled attorneys will provide you with your legal options and pursue settlement or go to trial in your best interest. Click here today to schedule your initial, free, case evaluation.
(image courtesy of Pepi Stojanovski)