Do you have to take your case to court? No, but if you do not act as if you are willing to go to trial, your claim will be worth dramatically less.
As a practical matter, unless your case is filed “in court” before the two year statute of limitations for personal injuries claims, there is no possibility of recovering at all. That is because your claim would be outlawed.
Although it is popular to think of going to court, as going to trial, as a practical matter in the case of serious injuries, virtually none settle until after they are “in court,” i.e. filed and served on the defendant.
Ninety-nine percent of all cases filed in court do eventually settle without going to trial, but no defendant or insurance company will offer a fair and reasonable settlement, unless you are ready to take your case to court AND have a lawyer with a track record of winning results.
Cases do not settle “out of court.” Case do settle that have been filed, i.e. are “in court,” and are being pushed to trial.
Nothing brings a case to a fair and reasonable settlement more successfully than the case that is prepared for trial and has been assigned to a judge and courtroom that is ready to begin trial. That is when a defendant quite often realizes that the settlement demanded is reasonable and the prospects of losing more need to be put to rest.
One mistake which often happens when the lawyer’s or client’s goal is to settle without going to trial is that the suit is not filed until after settlement negotiations have failed and the process is unnecessarily delayed, which plays into the trial strategies of the defense.
To begin a lawsuit with the goal of obtaining the best possible settlement without risking trial is a worthwhile goal, but unless the defendant and his/her insurance carrier knows that you are determined to take your case to trial, it will never settle.
Always follow this rule: never suggest or say to an insurance adjuster that you are interested in an early settlement. Once a defendant knows that your goal is to settle, only the smallest settlement offers will be made because the carrier expects you to give up early at a low price.
The best recoveries are obtained with a thoughtful, aggressive lawyer pushing your case towards trial, especially a lawyer who has a reputation for taking cases to trial, who has a solid record of obtaining good results in the courtroom, and preferably has a proven track record that has been objectively recognized. Avoid the lawyer with a reputation for “quick” settlement. Often times these are also low settlements, which only benefit the lawyer who handles a large volume of small cases.
If you or a family member have been wrongfully injured call us at 1.888.777.1776 or use this form, delays can hurt your case, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.