Should I settle my case or take it to trial?

While personal injury cases typically settle out of court, the decision to settle or go to trial can be difficult and should be made with an attorney’s advice.

Reaching a settlement has benefits for both sides: namely, it costs less, takes less time, and avoids the stress of a trial.

But settlements can have particular benefits for defendants (such as drug and device companies). For example, if the case is settled out of court the defendant doesn’t have to admit fault, and they can have the case “sealed” so that details that might damage their public image aren’t revealed. Juries, moreover, have shown a tendency to be sympathetic to drug and medical device injury victims and award plaintiffs large recoveries, including “punitive” damages (meant to punish a defendant for bad conduct).

From a plaintiff’s standpoint, accepting a settlement can be a tough choice, since there’s no guarantee that they’ll recover more by taking the case to trial. On the one hand, the defendant could be making a “lowball” settlement offer in hopes of avoiding a larger payout at trial. If the plaintiff’s attorney at least shows a willingness to go to trial (and even better—has a strong track record as a trial lawyer), it could force the defendant to make a more generous settlement offer.