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Are Personal Injury Settlements Public Record?

Whether or not a case is made a public record is incredibly important to people who might be concerned about revealing the details of their injury to complete strangers. Typically, when a personal injury claim is settled out of court, the amount and particulars of the case aren’t public record. However, when a case does go to court, this is a different case.

When Are Personal Injury Settlements Public Record?

Public recordIf a case does go to court, that is when it will most likely become a part of the public record. This action indicates the parties involved couldn’t reach a fair settlement without involving a court. A case dealing with a judge and jury will be available for the public view because it will have been decided by a judge or jury.

When a ruling is made public, everything submitted to the court or the jury in reaching that decision is made public, including testimonies, details of the injury, arguments used by both sides, and the verdict amount for the case.

Is It Better To Settle a Case Outside of Court So It Doesn't Go On Your Record?

Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to settle. Settlements are private affairs, and the details of the case didn’t involve a judge or jury and aren't required to be public record. You will have greater control over all aspects of the case; however, it also means the defendant is not obliged to admit his or her guilt or negligence.

Reasons to settle a personal injury case outside of court:

  • Settling a case out of court is usually faster: If time is of your concern, then you may be better off settling your personal injury case outside of court. A personal injury claim can take from months to years to settle, depending on your specific situation and everything contributing to it. If there are financial expenses involved, you may have access to your monetary funds sooner that your final day in the courthouse.
  • Guaranteed compensation: Another incentive of settling a case outside of court is that you are guaranteed compensation through a settlement. This will allow you to pay expenses that resulted because of the case when you need to.
  • Costs: If your case does get to court and goes on trial, you may have to pay additional court costs that may be avoided.
  • Won't go on public record: If you settle your case outside of court, you will have more privacy, since a trial goes public.

Reasons to settle a personal injury case in court:

  • Potentially greater award: One of the greatest incentives with going to court is that you will be able to obtain greater compensation, exceeding the amount that you may receive if you settle your case outside of court. If you are eager to receive the full potential of what you are rightfully owed, then going to court may be the wiser decision. It's important to communicate with your attorney, as he or she will be able to advise you on the matter.
  • Additional compensation: If you go to court and you win the case, it means that the jury sides with you. This also will leave the defendant having to pay compensation if he or she was difficult when it came to negotiation.
  • Able to pursue legal action: Once a case is settled outside of court, you will not be able to pursue further legal action.

If you’re concerned about whether or not your case will be settled in private or will go to court, contact one of our skilled San Jose personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. Habbas & Associates has more than 200 years of legal experience in personal injury cases, so we can provide you with insight into your situation. If you’re interested in contacting an attorney about your case, call us and schedule a conversation with us in a free case consultation. We can help you understand the circumstances surrounding your injury and help you develop an individualized strategy designed to meet your unique goals. If your injury was caused by the negligence of another person, he or she should be held accountable for paying for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Let us see what we can do for you.

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