Deciding whether to settle a Chicago car accident case or proceed to trial is an important consideration for victims. In many cases, settlements can offer fair compensation without the added time, expense, and uncertainty of a trial. However, some settlement offers may be insufficient to cover a victim’s expenses, or there may be liability disputes. In these cases, taking a case to trial may be advisable.
The decision to pursue litigation or settle a case is complex and unique to each victim. A number of factors must be considered. Trials have risk, and once a case moves toward litigation, every aspect of the case must be examined carefully. It is impossible to determine what a jury may like or dislike about the facts and circumstances associated with any particular case. A case that goes to trial should not have any weaknesses.
Notably, cases can sometimes be settled for reasonable amounts of money after filing litigation but before proceeding to trial. The defendant has the risk of the jury sympathizing with the plaintiff and awarding them a large amount of money. Once a defendant knows that a victim and their attorney are ready to proceed to trial, they may offer a fair settlement to avoid this risk.
Sometimes, settling a case by accepting a reasonable amount of money is an appropriate approach to avoid the risk of losing and getting nothing. That is a complex analysis and one that the injured person should do with their lawyer.
One of the issues with a trial is the time it takes, especially in Chicago and Cook County. The court docket is extremely busy, and sometimes victims would rather settle and move on with their life rather than wait several months for a trial.
Sometimes, victims choose to settle because they are uncomfortable being a witness and testifying. Most people are not used to testifying in open court, and it is understandable that they would be nervous or afraid of doing so. An infinite number of factors go into reasons why a client in consultation with their lawyer decides to settle a case rather than go forward.
Most often, cases are pushed to trial because there is a dispute as to liability. There are different versions of events from the plaintiff and defendant, and the insurance company will offer a small amount of money because it believes it can win the case.
A low settlement offer from an insurance company is the most common reason a victim decides to take the case to trial. They believe they are going to prevail with their version of how the accident occurred and who is at fault. If they win their case at trial, they may receive a larger settlement than the insurance company is willing to offer. In many situations, taking a case to trial is more about a liability dispute than about damages.
The attorneys at Disparti Law Group have extensive trial experience. We have more than 100 years of combined litigation experience, and our Chicago attorneys are well-prepared to provide advice on when a settlement is appropriate and when it is appropriate to proceed to trial.