Why Do Most Personal Injury Cases Settle in Cincinnati? | Everything You Should Know
Movies and TV shows have given people the illusion that all lawsuits end up in court. However, the vast majority of these cases settle before that happens. Only 3-4% of personal injury cases go to trial, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Even though the idea of going to court may seem appealing to some, it's not always the most convenient option to earn a reasonable settlement. When it comes to personal injury cases, victims often need to get their money as soon as possible to cover their damages and losses.
In Cincinnati, it's also common for personal injury claims to settle before trial. Contrary to popular belief, it's not bad to negotiate with an insurance company and come to an agreement before the case gets more complex. Taking a case to trial can create more obstacles for everyone involved, which means more time and money spent in the process.
This page has all the details surrounding personal injury settlements, including why most people decide to negotiate before going to trial and which factors affect how much money the victim earns in the end.
What's a Settlement in a Personal Injury Case?
In simple terms, a "settlement" is an agreement where the personal injury claimants agree to take a specific sum of money from the insurance company or at-fault party. The point of a settlement is to prevent accident victims from taking the case to court.
Even though that definition makes a settlement seem more convenient for the other party, it's also a great option for the plaintiff. The plaintiff (victim) takes a lower risk from settling than going to court. On the other hand, the defendant (person/entity being accused) avoids further expenses on legal fees and other related matters.
Taking a case to trial would mean that both the plaintiff and defendant are gambling on the verdict, which could go either way. Even if the personal injury settlement amount is higher if the case goes to trial, it's not worth it most of the time.
Why Do Most Personal Injury Claims Settle?
The reason why the majority of personal injury lawsuits settle is because of convenience.
Once both parties sign an out-of-court settlement, the plaintiff will get the offered amount with a 100% guarantee. The defendant, on the other hand, ensures that they don't spend more money than what they offered.
As mentioned, the plaintiff could decline the offer and take the case to trial. However, that 100% guarantee would now become a 50/50 chance of winning more money or not winning anything.
There's a third outcome that not many people mention: the judge could dismiss the case. Here, the victim wouldn't get anything for their damages.
Determining liability in certain personal injury cases (like car accidents) can be complicated. There, having settlement negotiations before going to trial will be the best option to ensure everyone can move on as fast as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Settling a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Settling a personal injury case before it goes to trial can get many benefits for everyone involved. First, the plaintiff would get the money they need to pay for:
Besides that, there are plenty of other advantages to consider from settling a personal injury case. The following section will cover everything to know about those.
Most trials are unpredictable. Even though a plaintiff could earn more money from getting their case to trial, they also risk not winning anything. Not earning compensation from a personal injury trial will result in out-of-pocket expenses that will put more stress on the victim's life.
Settling out of court, however, guarantees an award. Once both parties sign the settlement agreement, the plaintiff will get compensated for the amount that was agreed upon. In most cases, settlements can't be reversed, meaning that victims will have nothing more to worry about in the future.
It's important to note that most courts are public spaces. Additionally, legal court proceedings are often kept in public records, meaning that a lot of information related to the case will go public.
Sometimes, neither the plaintiff nor the defendant wants certain information to go public. In these cases, settling is the best option to consider. Once both parties settle, they can agree to keep sensitive details about the matter private.
This is often beneficial for cases involving corporations. Companies that got sued because of a product malfunction, for example, won't want that information to leak to the press or the public eye in general. In these cases, it's more than likely that they'll offer a reasonable settlement amount to stop the information from going public.
Many movies have led people to believe that trials get settled quickly, but that's often not the case. Depending on the severity of the lawsuit, it could take several years to reach a verdict.
Trials are usually not convenient for personal injury victims. This is because they need money to recover from their injuries and move on with their lives. If they have to wait years to get it, it's not worth it.
Even if the victim takes the case to trial and gets a winning verdict, that doesn't mean they'll get the money right away. In some cases, the court may decide that there were a few mistakes or unresolved matters during the trial, so both parties have to go back and review everything again. Additionally, the opposing party can appeal the court's decision.
Settling the case before it goes to trial, on the other hand, ensures that both parties can move on from what happened as fast as possible. In some cases, the victim and defendant can settle a few weeks or months after the accident, which takes a lot of stress off their shoulders.
Preparing for a trial is expensive. The more complex the case, the more likely it'll be to cost more money. Sometimes, both parties can expect tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses.
In personal injury cases, the victim will likely need to hire an expert witness to address how certain injuries could happen. They may also have to talk to medical experts to talk about how these injuries affected the person's life. Usually, these witnesses charge a lot of money for their time.
On top of those expenses, both the victim and defendant can expect to spend money on their attorney. Depending on the case, a personal injury lawyer in Cincinnati could spend hundreds of hours preparing a case, which involves gathering evidence, preparing legal documents, talking to witnesses, and more.
If the case gets settled in trial, the losing party may have the legal obligation to pay the winning party's legal expenses, which puts even more financial stress on them.
In the end, it's too much stress for both parties. Settling outside of court ensures a much lower expense for everyone, even if they hire personal injury attorneys to negotiate.
Personal injury lawsuits are stressful for everyone. Even if one of the parties has all of the evidence pointing in their favor, the legal process itself can become tedious and overwhelming at some point.
When cases go to trial, both of the parties involved will have to take time out of their day to go to court, prepare testimonies, and more. In the case of the victim, they may be required to testify a few times, which will make them relive what happened over and over. This isn't convenient if the person is mentally vulnerable at the time.
A guaranteed settlement offer will take most of the stress out of the parties' shoulders. If the victim is worried they may not get enough compensation through the settlement, they can hire a personal injury lawyer to help them. This will get rid of most of the stress, allowing the victim to move on and focus on their recovery.
Not Admitting Liability
No one likes admitting fault after an accident. If the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident, they risk having to admit that in a public court, meaning they could lose their chance of earning a better settlement.
However, this benefit is mostly for the defendant. When the personal injury case involves a business defendant, it's more than likely that it'll want to keep its public image intact. In those cases, the defendant offers a reasonable settlement to the victim in exchange for not having to admit liability.
The victim wins in the sense that they would be getting the money they need faster, and the defendant wins by not having to worry about public backlash.
When Should People Take Their Personal Injury Claims to Trial?
Even though settling a case before going to trial is often the most convenient option, there are a few instances where it may not work for either party.
Here are some scenarios where the plaintiff/defendant may consider taking the case to trial:
The plaintiff wants to sue for punitive damages.
None of the parties can agree on a fair settlement amount.
The defendant doesn't admit their liability. Hence, they refuse to pay.
The defendant's insurance isn't enough to pay for the damages caused (or they don't have insurance at all).
The insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement.
It can be tricky to know when it's more convenient to get a case to trial. In these cases, talking to personal injury lawyers will be the best option, as they can guide the victim toward the outcome that favors them the most. If that outcome involves taking the case to trial, the attorney will do everything in their power to assist them throughout the entire journey.
What Can Affect a Personal Injury Settlement?
Every personal injury case in Cincinnati is different, so it's often complicated to calculate exactly how much money someone can get from their claim. It's also hard to tell when it's more convenient to take a case to trial vs. settling.
Thankfully, there are a few factors that may help both parties assess their situation faster:
Complexity of the Injuries
Cases involving minor injuries that are easily evaluated without an expert will likely get settled faster. This is because it's easier for all parties involved to reach an agreement.
However, if the case is more complicated and involves hard-to-calculate damages like mental anguish, it may be harder to negotiate. This is because both parties may need expert help and tests to evaluate how much the damages are worth. Things can get even more complicated if the plaintiff is partially at fault.
In other words, the more complex the case, the more information that both parties have to work with. This often translates into a harder settlement to negotiate.
Amount of Money at Stake
Money is often the primary reason why the parties involved in a case won't settle. Sometimes, the victim sustained significant injuries after an accident, so they believe their claim is worth a specific amount.
If the defendant (or their insurance company) isn't willing to settle for that amount, the case may go to trial. Even though it's not common, some defendants may think they have a better chance of avoiding paying larger settlement amounts by taking the case to trial.
Willingness to Settle
In some cases, money isn't the issue. The defendant may think that settling isn't beneficial to them, as that would involve admitting fault. This is more common in cases involving business defendants.
If a person sues a company, and it agrees to settle, for example, that may encourage other people to file a similar lawsuit, which could result in huge losses. Companies that think they have a chance of winning the case will likely refuse to settle.
Defendants could avoid this risk by including language in the agreement that specifies they will keep the details of the case private. However, the company may still decide to take the case to trial if it feels it can win.
In many cases, neither of the parties thinks of the risks and expenses outside the case. A trial could get a lot of unnecessary attention to the defendant, which could harm their reputation, for example.
The same goes for the plaintiff, even if they're not worried about their "reputation" as the defendant may be, getting too much attention on them during such a hard time can take a toll on their mental health.
How Much Can Someone Win from Personal Injury Lawsuits?
It depends on the circumstances surrounding the case and whether it goes to trial or not. The best way to tell how much compensation is possible to get from a case is to talk to personal injury attorneys.
These legal experts can take all the information about the incident and use that to calculate how much they could ask for in a settlement. However, it's important to note that this doesn't mean that the victim will get that amount of money.
The settlement will mostly depend on how willing the other party is to negotiate and/or accept the initial offer.
How Can Personal Injury Lawyers Help Settle a Case?
In any case, working with personal injury attorneys will get the victim the highest chance of earning a reasonable amount of money to cover their damages. Negotiating with defendants and insurance companies is often a tedious process, and they won't always admit liability right away.
Not having enough legal knowledge could work in the other party's favor, resulting in the victim accepting a lowball offer. Hiring a lawyer ensures that the victim has a better chance of negotiating a settlement that represents how much they're owed and answer questions like what is a personal injury structured settlement?
In essence, a personal injury lawyer will:
Advocate for the victim's rights.
Negotiate settlement offers.
Represent the victim in court (if needed).
What's the Average Timeline of Personal Injury Cases in Cincinnati?
The victim needs to act as fast as possible following a personal injury case. In Cincinnati, the statute of limitations for these cases is usually two years from the date of the incident. Failing to file a claim within those two years will result in the case getting dismissed immediately.
If the case involves a minor or a government entity, the deadline may change, so it's critical to talk to a legal expert as soon as possible to evaluate all options available.
Once the person gets into an accident, they must:
Call for help.
Take photos and videos of the scene and injuries (if possible).
Ask for a police report.
Gather the defendant's contact information.
Gather witnesses' contact information.
Talk to an attorney.
The lawyer will start building a case with all the information available, and they will use that to start negotiating with the defendant or their insurance company.
Depending on the case, a victim can expect to get their settlement money within a few weeks or months. Special/complex cases could take up to a year to get settled.
Filing a personal injury claim can be scary for anyone. There's a lot of uncertainty, and if the victim doesn't have legal experience, they could have trouble getting justice for what happened.
Most of the time, avoiding a personal injury trial will be the most convenient option for both parties. This ensures that the victim gets the money they need to recover as fast as possible without adding more stress to their life.
Victims who can't reach a settlement agreement with the other party may want the help of a personal injury lawyer too. These legal experts know the tricks that insurance companies use to make lower offers and avoid liability, so they can use that knowledge to fight for the victim's rights.
The personal injury attorneys at Schuerger Shunnarah are committed to "going to war" for their clients. A personal injury lawsuit isn't something that people should navigate on their own, as that could cause more anxiety and affect their recovery process.
Those looking for an experienced personal injury attorney to count on can schedule a free consultation with this law firm today. They're more than ready to help those in need.