Filing a personal injury claim can be scary, confusing, and emotional as you attempt to navigate the nuanced fields of both medicine and law to recover the damages you deserve. It can be tempting to simply settle and accept the dollar amount offered by your opponent rather than hire an attorney to begin preparing for trial.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both settling and going trial, however there are several reasons why it is typically in your best interest to prepare for trial, even if you have every intention to settle.
1. Your opponent wants to pay as little as possible
Despite what they may say in communication with you, the defendant in your case only wants to resolve the case as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. In most cases, this means settling. Claimants are typically awarded more after going to trial; however you may be able to convince your opponent that it is in their best interest to settle your claim at a higher rate than their initial offer to mitigate the liability they would be exposed to by taking the case to court. By taking certain steps to let the defendant know you are prepared to go to trial and have the fortitude to litigate your claim, if necessary, they are more likely to take the threat of a trial seriously.
Your opponent is probably well-aware that going to trial would likely be much more costly to them than paying your settlement demand. By showing them that you are not afraid to go to trial, you are communicating to your opponent that it is in their best interest to accept your settlement demand.
2. Preparing for trial shows your opponent you are ready for a fight and are not intimidated
Your opponent, especially if it is an insurance company, may believe that they can intimidate you into accepting their settlement offer at a lower dollar amount by trying to convince you that you do not have a solid case against them. By letting your opponent know that you are preparing for trial, you are showing them that you are not afraid or intimidated by them and that you will not be bullied into accepting an offer less than what you know you deserve. You might do this by hiring a medical expert, if the facts of your case require, and conducting depositions of lay witnesses and expert witnesses.
3. A medical causation opinion may be instrumental in your case
Depending on the facts of your case, getting ready for a trial may involve obtaining a medical causation opinion as to the cause of your injuries, as well as their nature and extent. This report, along with the testimony of a medical expert, may turn out to be instrumental in your case, even if you do end up settling.
A medical causation opinion is a statement from a medical professional as to the cause, nature, and extent of your injuries. This is very important in many personal injury cases, as it is imperative to have medical evidence and testimony that your injury was caused due to the negligence or wrongdoing of your opponent.
4. You can use the discovery phases of trial to strengthen your claim while weakening your opponent’s defenses
The entire goal of filing an injury claim is to recover the damages you are entitled to and be made whole again by proving the defendant’s negligence caused you damages. During the discovery phase of litigation, you have the opportunity to collect evidence to support each element of your claim.
The discovery phase is a pre-trial phase of the litigation process when both parties of a case can build their cases by collecting documents, conducting interviews, and deposing witnesses. This is a great way to discover how solid your case is and how you can make it even stronger by obtaining additional evidence or expert opinions.
You may even be able to pinpoint weaknesses in your opponent’s case, as your legal team will be able to cross-examine any witness deposed by the defense during this discovery phase. If you are planning to settle, you will be able to use those weaknesses to your advantage by leveraging them to convince your opponent that settling, according to your demands, is the most cost-effective and responsible thing for them to do.
5. You will be prepared with the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney
When you begin to prepare for trial, you will want to contact a knowledge and experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will be able to help you collect and document all pieces of discovery which may be necessary for your case, including personal statements, medical records, and police records. She or he will also be able to conduct witness interviews and depositions, which will be useful to strengthen your position in settlement negotiations and ensure you are awarded the damages you deserve.
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, do not allow your opponent to take advantage of you by offering an unacceptably low payment to settle your claim. At the Law Firm of Alan R. Goodman, we have helped countless clients in the Springfield, MA area develop a comprehensive case strategy to leverage the strengths of their claim in settlement negotiations.
Our team works on a contingency fee basis, which means that we do not get paid unless you receive a settlement or favorable verdict in your case. For a complimentary consultation, contact us today at 413-736-1616.