Negotiating Settlements in Personal Injury Cases vs. Going to Trial: Pros and Cons

Posted by Brendan McQuaid | Aug 12, 2023 | 0 Comments

Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm or injury due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party. These cases can range from car accidents and medical malpractice to slip and fall accidents and product liability claims. When pursuing a personal injury claim, individuals often face a crucial decision: whether to negotiate a settlement or take the case to trial. Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and understanding them can help plaintiffs make an informed choice. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of negotiating settlements and going to trial in personal injury cases.

Negotiating Settlements:


  1. Time and Cost: One of the primary advantages of settling a personal injury case is that it can be resolved relatively quickly and at a lower cost compared to going to trial. Trials can be lengthy, and the associated legal fees, court costs, and expert witness fees can quickly add up. Settling the case allows both parties to avoid the time and expense involved in a trial.

  2. Control: Negotiating a settlement gives plaintiffs more control over the outcome of their case. In a trial, the decision ultimately rests with a judge or jury, which introduces an element of uncertainty. By reaching a settlement, plaintiffs have a say in the terms and conditions of the agreement, providing a sense of closure and control over the outcome.

  3. Privacy: Trials are public proceedings, meaning the details of the case, including personal and financial information, are open to the public. Settling a personal injury case keeps the matter private, allowing the parties to maintain their privacy and confidentiality.


  1. Potential Undervaluation: One of the main concerns with settling a personal injury case is the risk of receiving a lower settlement amount than what may have been obtained through a trial. Insurance companies and defendants may offer lower settlement offers to minimize their financial liability. Plaintiffs should carefully evaluate settlement offers to ensure they adequately compensate for their injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

  2. No Guarantee: Negotiating a settlement does not guarantee a resolution. Parties may engage in negotiations for an extended period without reaching a satisfactory agreement. In such cases, the plaintiff may need to reevaluate their options and consider pursuing a trial instead.

Going to Trial:


  1. Potentially Higher Compensation: Going to trial offers the opportunity to present evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will determine the compensation amount if liability is established. In some cases, juries may award higher amounts than what the defendant offered in settlement negotiations. By going to trial, plaintiffs have the chance to seek a more substantial financial recovery.

  2. Legal Precedent: Trials can set legal precedents that impact future cases. If a personal injury case involves an important legal issue or if there is a need for clarification on certain aspects of the law, taking the case to trial can provide an opportunity to establish a legal precedent that may benefit others in similar situations.


  1. Time and Stress: Trials can be lengthy and emotionally draining. They require significant time and energy investment from plaintiffs, who must attend court hearings, provide testimony, and undergo cross-examination. The trial process can be stressful and may lead to further emotional distress for the injured party.

  2. Uncertainty: Trials are inherently uncertain, as the outcome is ultimately decided by a judge or jury. Plaintiffs must be prepared for the possibility of an unfavorable ruling, which may result in no compensation or a lower amount than what was initially sought.

  3. Costs and Expenses: Going to trial can be expensive. Plaintiffs may need to hire expert witnesses, pay for court fees, and cover other litigation-related expenses.

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