Settlement vs. Trial: Choosing the Best Path for Your Personal Injury Claim

Personal Injury Claim

Sustaining injuries due to an accident is something no one wants but can happen, nonetheless. While you can be as cautious as you can, nobody can foresee it. In fact, a medical care survey in 2021 shows that more than 25 million cases of emergency visits happened in the United States due to personal injuries that are unintentional in nature. This large number of people undergoes the long and winding road to recovery.

Not only is the injury a medical concern, but it’s also a legal concern because victims are eligible for a personal injury claim for the financial and emotional damage inflicted on them. And as they head towards the journey to recuperate, one of the crossroads they face with their case is whether they opt for a settlement or a trial. Choosing between the two can affect the trajectory of your case and ultimately your life.

This article will discuss the difference between settlement and trial, as well as help you select the best path for your personal injury claim. Continue reading to learn more.

Settlement vs. Trial

Settlement 101

A settlement is a voluntary resolution between the disputing parties. The plaintiff, usually the injured one, agrees to reach a resolution with the one who caused the injury, also referred to as the defendant. They deal with the concern at hand without reaching the court and settle for an amount discussed and negotiated through their insurance company and legal counsel.

Settlements between a plaintiff and a defendant may vary based on where it happened because states and localities may have their own regulations. For instance, Los Angeles may have a different jurisdiction than other places in the US due to culture or industry prevalence. Compensation for personal injury victims in Orange County isn’t standard because it’s on a case-to-case basis. That’s why hiring a legal team from where the incident happened is more practical when faced with this kind of dilemma.

Here’s an overview of what to expect when you opt for a settlement:

  • Faster resolution. If efficiency and financial assistance are a priority for you, then settlement is the way to go. In simple cases, settlements can be resolved in just a few months.
  • Reduced uncertainty. With settlement, you bypass the agony of waiting for a jury’s decision. This can reduce the stress on your part, enabling you to focus more on your recovery.
  • Cost-effective. Settlements are generally the more affordable option because there are no expenses related to the court, expert witnesses, and trial concerns. This is especially beneficial for those who are financially strained.

Statistics show that 95% of civil cases reach a settlement, and personal injury lawsuits are the same. Settlements are the usual route the majority take because of the pros mentioned above.

Trial 101

In the event that a settlement isn’t proposed or can’t be reached, then a personal injury case proceeds to trial.

A trial is a formal setting within the judiciary to examine the evidence by the disputed parties. Their arguments are presented before a judge and a handful of juries who’ll determine the result of the case.

The plaintiff and the defendant will meet in court with the goal of finding liability and resolving their concerns before the eyes of a judge who’d give a verdict afterwards. Generally, their attorneys speak on their behalf and methodically try to win the case. They also consider witness testimonies, official medical records, and other compelling documents supporting their claims.

While trials can become more complex as they unravel, they also have their distinct pros. Here’s an overview:

  • Potential for a higher reward. The decisions made by a jury aren’t limited to policies or stipulations that an insurance company adheres to. So, there’s a chance that a verdict in a trial is better than a settlement, resulting in higher compensation.
  • Public accountability. Undergoing a trial means your case becomes a public record. The proceeding also serves as a forum for making the defendant responsible and raising awareness for others to learn.
  • Sense of justice. An unbiased decision from the court while considering the welfare of both parties brings forth justice and recognition. This can provide validation to how life-altering the injury may be to the injured party.

Many people hesitate with trials because the outcome might not go their way. At the same time, the entire process of a case moving through the court system is tedious, given that you’ll undergo court appearance, arraignment, trial, sentencing, and appeal. But if you have a compelling case, then a trial is worth exploring.


There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing between settlement and trial. Both have strengths and weaknesses, but both can help your unique case. Some factors you can reflect on before choosing are to evaluate the strength of your case, potential compensation, risk tolerance, and the effort and resources you can put into your case. Also, hire a lawyer and seek their expert opinion to help you navigate this circumstance. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *