Most personal injury lawsuits are resolved through a settlement instead of a civil court trial. Settlements are generally easier for all parties, which is why informal settlements are sometimes discussed early in the whole litigation process. If your personal injury lawyer is discussing the possibilities of a settlement, here are some important questions to ask to ensure that you are fully informed about your situation. Being informed can help empower you to make a smart decision that you'll never regret.
Can you point to both settlements and trial outcomes for cases that are similar to mine?
Your personal injury lawyer will likely be happy to discuss similar cases to yours, and how the outcomes may have worked for or against people in your situation. This can help ease your fears and feel better about the settlement, or it may also help you reconsider all your options. Either way, the information will help shed light on the situation at hand.
What would be the challenges of trying this particular case?
How your attorney answers this question can help you feel assured that going to trial may not be the best option. If your lawyer would face many or severe challenges in presenting the case for trial, a settlement will probably be the best way for you to go.
What are the chances of winning this case in a trial?
While there is no way for your lawyer to give you a definite tally of your exact odds, your personal injury attorney can talk to you about how good or bad your chances would be. He will be able to tell you what would put things in your favor or against it.
What are the dollar amount estimates for a settlement?
Discuss the bottom line of a settlement with your lawyer. Exact numbers won't be available, but your attorney will likely be able to provide you with a range of monetary amounts that you may receive in damages both in a settlement and in a trial. After asking this, you should be very clear about the minimum settlement amount that you will accept in order to choose the settlement over a trial.
Finally, when you are trying to decide whether you want to settle your case, remember that you are ultimately in control of this decision. It's important to give a lot of weight to the opinion of your experienced personal injury attorney who has likely settled many similar cases, but you are under no obligation to agree to a settlement if it's not what you want. Be sure of your decision before you go forward with a settlement so that you'll have no regrets moving forward.
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