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Injury Lawsuits Can Settle Long After Trial Begins

Oct 20, 2015 Brown Moore & Associates Personal Injury

Without a doubt, the majority of personal injury cases settle before trial. In many cases, insurance claims make trials unnecessary, but even cases that make it to the court dockets often settle before trial begins, or shortly thereafter. Each Charlotte injury lawyer at our firm typically recommends avoiding stressful courtroom trials whenever possible, but there are certain situations that can call for jury trials:

  • Cases involving extensive, long-term physical injuries may not receive sufficient compensation without a jury decision.
  • Claims in which negligence is in dispute may require an official verdict to help prevent victims from losing out on any portion of their deserved compensation.
  • Cases of extreme negligence or recklessness do not typically involve the payment of punitive damages without a courtroom determination

Even cases like these do not always make it into the courtroom. The opposing lawyers usually try to negotiate a settlement offer that meets the needs of their clients. In fact, settlement offers can arise even after trial begins. In most cases, no one — from the involved parties to the judge and jury — has any vested interest in extending a trial one moment longer than necessary. When both parties negotiate an acceptable settlement, the trial ends virtually instantly.

Trials Can Provide Incentives for Settlement

It is not uncommon for both sides involved in personal injury lawsuits to believe they have strong cases that will prevail in a courtroom trial. If at any point during the trial, either party recognizes that the other party has a stronger case, they may choose to make a settlement offer in an attempt to negotiate more affordable damages than a jury might award.

An extreme example of delayed settlements was the case of a medical malpractice lawsuit reported by the Times-News. The jury had already found in favor of the injury victims in the second week of trial. However, the judge recessed the jury for two weeks to permit time to celebrate the winter holidays before returning to decide the damages phase of the trial.
It is not known if any prior settlements were attempted during the trial, but the defendant clearly had an incentive to settle after being found negligent. When the jury returned after recess, the case had settled, and the judge released them before the damages deliberations began.

Legal Strategies Vary Based Upon the Details of the Case

The right strategy for pursuing a personal injury claim depends on the specifics behind the accident and the resulting injuries. Certainly, many claims benefit from the quick results afforded by filing insurance claims, but others may have better results with other types of legal action.

A free consultation with an experienced attorney can help injury victims learn the benefits and disadvantages of the variety of methods available for pursuing compensation. Before filing an insurance claim, call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form to learn the pros and cons of all available options.