If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, and have begun the process of bringing a lawsuit against them, then you may already have been given an offer for a settlement. For a number of reasons, it may seem tempting to take that settlement as soon as it is offered, but that may not be the best idea. There are many potential pros and cons to settling your claim, and you should not settle until you understand what you are getting into.
What is a Settlement?
In legal terms, a settlement is an agreement between the parties to a lawsuit, which ends the plaintiff’s claims in exchange for some sort of compensation from the defendant. Typically, this compensation comes in the form of money or property, but may also include other agreements. For example, it might include a non-disclosure agreement to not discuss the details of the case, or a non-disparagement clause to prevent either side from publicly denigrating the other. Once a suit has been settled, it is over, and never progresses to trial.
What Are the Pros of a Settlement?
The vast majority of lawsuits are ultimately settled, and for good reason. There are many benefits to settling a lawsuit, rather than going all the way to trial. For example:
- Settling out of court ends the lawsuit much faster than going to trial, potentially saving a large amount of time and money.
- Even if you win at trial, there is no guarantee you will get more than you would have if you settled.
- Settlements can keep embarrassing information out of the public eye, which might be exposed during a public trial.
- Verdicts from a trial can be appealed, potentially for years, while settlements are typically final.
What Are the Cons of a Settlement?
That said, there are a number of potential issues with taking a settlement, even a favorable one. For example:
- A settlement is typically final, and you cannot pursue your claim after you have settled it.
- If you settle too early, you may lose out on what you may have gotten if you had held out longer.
- You can potentially win more at trial than you would receive from settling your claim.
- A defendant who settles their claim does not need to admit fault, preserving their reputation despite any negligent acts they committed.
Should I Settle or Not?
The question about whether to accept a settlement offer is a complicated one, and it is a decision you should not make without legal guidance. Speaking to a lawyer with experience in personal injury law can help you make the best choice for you, and help you to create a legal strategy that best suits your needs.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should seek out the personal injury lawyers at Zlotolow & Associates. Our seasoned New York personal injury attorneys bring more than two decades of trial experience to your case. We serve all five boroughs of New York City, as well as Nassau and Suffolk County. Our aggressive personal injury attorneys always demand maximum compensation. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts.