When plaintiffs file a lawsuit, they often imagine a trial before a jury where they expose the defendant for what they have done and how the defendant injured them. The reality, however, is that many cases do not go to trial and are settled beforehand. A settlement, although less flashy and potentially less cathartic than a lawsuit, is a perfectly reasonable way to accomplish the goals of a lawsuit without the costs and time associated with a trial. However, it is also important to know when and when not to settle a case.
Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to determine what an appropriate settlement offer is after a rear-end collision. Settlement offers are based on the needs of the plaintiff, their injuries, and the disposition of the defendant. Thus, there is no useful baseline or guideline for what an appropriate settlement offer is. Settlements are determined to be acceptable or not on a case-by-case basis.
If you are debating settling a case, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland car accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291.
Settling a Lawsuit vs. Going to Court in Maryland
Settling a case is different than suing someone in court for your injuries. In law, a settlement is when the plaintiff and defendant come to an agreement before a case goes to trial. The case is then “dropped,” no one is found liable in court (although some settlements do include an admission of liability for one of the parties), and the parties go on with their lives.
Settlements are sometimes preferred to full-on lawsuits because they are usually quicker and less costly than going to trial. However, it is important to know when you should settle and when you should not.
If you can accomplish all of the goals of your personal injury lawsuit through a settlement, that is what you should do. Remember, your objective in filing a car accident lawsuit is to get all of the financial compensation you need to move on with your life. It does not matter whether that is from a successful lawsuit or a settlement.
On the other hand, if a settlement offer does not meet your needs, you should not accept it. There are many instances where a defendant will offer a settlement to try and avoid a lawsuit and preserve their reputation. In these instances, you should work with our Baltimore car accident lawyers to negotiate for a higher settlement or take the case all the way to trial.
It is also important to remember that although our car accident lawyers can give you advice as to whether you should settle or not, the ultimate decision is up to you.
Benefits of Settling a Case in Maryland
Settling a case can have several benefits over taking a case to trial. The primary reasons that plaintiffs settle cases are to save litigation costs and time. However, it is not advisable to compromise obtaining the financial compensation you need if it is not offered in a settlement. There is a fine balance to strike, and our Mount Airy car accident lawyers can assist you with finding the right path to take.
Cost of Litigation
One of the main benefits of settling a case is that it reduces legal fees. Lawyers generally bill on an hourly basis. That means that each hour spent on a case increases the cost of litigation. This does not factor in the cost of obtaining documents and other important information and interviewing witnesses and other relevant parties. Moreover, there is no way of telling how long a trial will take. It could be one day or multiple weeks, depending on the complexity of the issues in the case. If a case takes longer than expected to resolve itself, litigation costs may potentially eat up any damages you could be awarded from a successful lawsuit.
Another important factor for plaintiffs considering settling a case is how much time a trial will take. Settlement offers can happen at any time before the trial. You could conceivably get a settlement offer the day after our lawyers file your lawsuit.
Time spent waiting for a verdict in a lawsuit is time that you do not have compensation for your injuries. This can be an important consideration to weigh when contemplating a settlement offer in a lawsuit.
Certainty of Outcome
Another benefit of settling a case is that the outcome is guaranteed. Even with extensive preparation and the most experienced attorneys in your corner, the outcome of a trial is never certain. It will always be in the hands of the judge and jury which way a lawsuit goes. Settlements, conversely, as agreements between both sides of a case, have a guaranteed outcome free of the prospect of a wildcard verdict. This certainty can be appealing to plaintiffs and might sway you towards accepting a settlement offer.
Factors that Influence Rear-End Collision Settlements in Maryland
Settlement offers are based on the unique facts of their associated lawsuit. No two settlement offers will be the same because each case will have slightly different facts and circumstances. However, certain factors can influence a settlement offer in any car accident case.
One of the most important factors in a settlement offer is the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. An appropriate settlement takes into account the plaintiff’s condition and makes it so that continuing to trial is not necessarily an easy choice.
Connected to this factor is the consideration of the plaintiff’s financial needs. A successful and reasonable settlement offer will offer the plaintiff enough compensation that they will not strongly consider pursuing a jury trial as a more favorable option.
Our Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Can Help with Settlements
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Towson, MD car accident lawyers at (410) 694-7291 to get a free case review.