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Pros and Cons of Settling Out of Court

Contrary to popular belief and what you see in the movies, the vast majority of Georgia personal injury claims settle out of court. In fact, it’s common for a settlement to be reached before a personal injury lawsuit is even filed. There can be many advantages to settling out of court for both sides, which our we’ve outlined below based on our experience in the personal injury legal field.

Advantages of Settling Out of Court

Generally, there are numerous benefits to the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the at-fault party) to settle a personal injury claim, including:

  • Litigation is expensive for both sides, but a settlement does not have to be. Settling drastically reduces legal fees. For the plaintiff, this often means they get to keep more of their settlement because a smaller percentage is used to pay their legal counsel than if the case progresses to court.
  • Litigation is unpredictable since no one can predict what the jury will do. With a settlement, both sides know what to expect and they can control the outcome.
  • Trials are very stressful. By settling early on, there can be less stress involved.
  • Trials are time-consuming, so many hours can be saved in an outside court settlement.
  • Settlements are private, so there is no worry about the public knowing the details. Trials on the other hand are public and someone could gain access to the details of the case if they tried hard enough.
  • With a settlement, the defendant does not have to admit liability.

Disadvantages of Settling Out of Court

  • Fear you’ll settle for less than you’d get if you went to trial. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what a jury would award you. So all you can do is make the best decision possible considering your circumstances. If you work with Jones & Swanson, our experienced legal team will help you make the most informed decision based on the specifics of your case – settle or trial.

What it Means to ‘Settle’ a Case

What does it mean exactly for a plaintiff to “settle” a case? Here’s what the American Bar Association has to say about settlements:

“Settling a case means that you agree to accept money in return for dropping your action against the person who injured you. You'll actually sign a release absolving the other side of any further liability. To help you decide whether to accept the settlement offer, your lawyer will be able to provide a realistic assessment of whether a lawsuit based on your claim will be successful. (Settlement also can take place at any point in a lawsuit once it is filed, including before trial or even after a case has been tried but before a jury reaches a verdict.) The decision to accept a settlement offer is yours, not the lawyer's.”

To file a personal injury claim, contact Jones & Swanson to get started.