Picture this. You slip and fall in a retail store in New York City. Which do you think you’d rather do? Take the case to trial, or settle?
When many of our clients walk into our office, they think what they want to do is sue. They’ve seen big lawsuit headlines with big payouts. “Settling” feels like caving in, or like walking away from money they could have had.
Yet as experienced NYC personal injury lawyers, we can tell them that settling is exactly what they want to do.
Settlements Are Predictable
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Judges and juries are almost impossible to predict. There’s always the chance they won’t see things the way you see things. Things go wrong and weird in court all the time, even for the strongest cases.
So while you can walk away with far more money after a trial, you might walk away with nothing at all.
Meanwhile, settlements are pretty predictable. Both sides have a pretty good idea of what the case is probably worth. We can generate a “worst case” number and a “best case” number. The defense does the same. If we can get somewhere in the middle, in general, it’s a good deal for our clients.
Settlements Don’t Set Up Unrealistic Expectations
Sure, the jury just awarded someone over a million dollars. Did they get all that money?
Maybe. If the liability policy limits were high enough. If they had deep enough pockets to cover the difference.Every insurance policy comes with policy limits, and they won’t pay past them. So while you might get a big “feel good” number by risking trial, that doesn’t really reflect what’s going into your pockets.
A settlement will usually be within policy limits.
Settlements Don’t Get Appealed
Those big headlines don’t tell the entire story of a personal injury case. They don’t tell you that the defendant often appeals and gets the award reduced by a considerable margin.
While appeals can only happen, in general, if there was a mistake of law or new evidence has been uncovered that wouldn’t have been uncovered in the original case, they do happen often enough to be a concern.
Once a case is settled it’s settled and done. Both parties have agreed to the outcome and it won’t be opened again. That means you can get on with the business of getting on with your life.
Sometimes you still need a trial.
Sometimes insurance companies refuse to offer fair terms. Sometimes the issues of fact in the case are enough to cast doubt on liability, which means the company might choose to push it all the way to trial.
Your personal injury attorney will advise you if you are dealing with one of those cases.
You want someone who is prepared to litigate. Yet you also want an excellent negotiator who will try to keep you out of court while demanding that justice gets done. The balance isn’t always easy to achieve, but our law firm has managed it again and again.
Find out what we can do for you by contacting us with a free consultation.