Will My Personal Injury Case Settle?
Although television shows and movies glorify dramatic “courtroom battles” between attorneys, the truth is that many personal injury cases are not litigated at all. Instead, it is common for many cases to settle out of court. Settlement agreements usually present both sides of a dispute with advantages over proceeding to a trial before a judge or jury. On the one hand, the plaintiff (that is, the injured party) gets a speedier and more certain resolution to his or her case than if he or she went to trial. Judges and juries can be unpredictable, and a trial does not always end with the plaintiff receiving compensation. On the other hand, defendants are able to swiftly put litigation behind them and often end up paying the plaintiff a compensation award that is not as great as the plaintiff originally sought.
Not Every Case Can or Should Settle
Notwithstanding the frequency with which California personal injury cases settle, a settlement agreement requires the participation and consent of both parties. If either the plaintiff or the defendant do not want to participate in a settlement agreement, then litigation at trial is almost assured. Moreover, there are situations in which either the plaintiff or the defendant may not wish for the case to settle, such as:
- The defendant offers a settlement that does not adequately compensate the plaintiff;
- The plaintiff will not accept a settlement that is financially reasonable from the defendant’s perspective;
- A defendant does not wish to admit responsibility for causing a crash or injury incident;
- A defendant has a viable defense to the claims of the plaintiff that is likely to succeed and that would result in a dismissal of some or all of the plaintiff’s claims; and/or
- The plaintiff’s claim would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
If I am Injured, Who Determines if My Case Settles?
As an injury victim in California, whether your case settles, or even if a settlement is offered at all, depends in part on your own wishes and desires. Your attorney is not able to accept a settlement offer without your consent and approval, so it is important to speak early and often with your legal counsel about your goals and whether a settlement is an appropriate resolution for your case.
The experienced and dedicated Riverside law firm of Heiting & Irwin fights hard on behalf of our clients to secure the most favorable resolution to claims as quickly as possible. We will evaluate your case and assist you in understanding whether a settlement is an appropriate way to resolve your personal injury claim. In any event, you can count on Heiting & Irwin to vigorously represent your legal rights and interests throughout the pendency of your case. Contact Heiting & Irwin today by phone at (951) 682-6440, or reach out to the firm through its website, for help resolving your personal injury claim.