You were just told by your lawyer that your personal injury claim will probably need to be escalated to a lawsuit that goes to trial because the party liable for your injuries refuses to settle. Should you be worried? Or are there actually some benefits to litigating a personal injury case that you might not know about?
In this second and final half of our two-part blog series Settle or Litigate, our attorneys from Habbas & Associates in San Jose discuss why litigation can be a good thing when handled correctly.
Litigation’s Bad Reputation
If you Google search “advantages of litigation,” then you are likely to get a page-one filled with nothing but articles about the “disadvantages” of litigation. It’s true – there are problems with litigation. However, the prevalence of those issues is slightly exaggerated, to say the least.
The bad reputation of litigation is related partially to the fact that many attorneys don’t like courtroom processes at all. Many law firms refuse to take a case to litigation because it takes a lot of time to prepare a case that might not even end positively for them and their client. Some law firms won’t even assist a client in preparing a lawsuit at all. Instead, they will do everything they can to convince their clients that litigation is nothing but bad news with no advantages whatsoever. Logically, though, this can’t be the case.
Clear Rules & Procedures
One appreciable fact about litigation is that it is defined by clear rules and procedures. Everything from how to file a lawsuit to sharing evidence and calling on expert witnesses needs to be done by the book.
Sticking to rigorous legal rules might not sound appealing, but it can be a good thing when the defendant – the party liable for your injuries – wants to shirk its responsibilities by staying vague and distant. With courtroom rules and procedures in place, they have to come forth into the light of the situation and explain why they should not be liable for your damages, which, hopefully, will be difficult to do.
Valuable Jury Perspectives
In settlement discussions, it is easy to lose perspective of the entire situation since there are essentially only two parties there to talk about it. In litigation, the introduction of a judge and/or jury brings more viewpoints to explore. It's entirely possible that members of the jury hearing your case could reach conclusions in your favor that you had not even considered yet.
Before you worry too much about presenting a case to a jury, you should know that juries tend to dislike insurance companies as much as you probably do. After all, they are supposed to be a jury of your peers. With an experienced personal injury lawyer representing you in court, they can try to take advantage of a jury’s inclination to favor the plaintiff.
Changing Lawsuits Today & Tomorrow
A unique advantage of personal injury litigation that most people overlook is the chance to make a better tomorrow for similar claimants through establishing new case law. Your claim could be the first of its kind in your state. How it concludes can influence any similar lawsuits that follow and help protect the rights of others.
In a settlement, there is no established court precedence, regardless of how unique the outcome may be. Everything is isolated in its own case file, which can be nice, but it does not have the ability to change the world for the better, which is arguably nicer.
Public Forum Brings Everything to Light
Litigation is handled in a public forum. Everything on a court’s record will be filed away in the clerk’s office, where any inquiring party can access it. If you don’t have any reason to be worried about your injury claim going public, then the defendant might.
At the threat of litigation and being seen by the public, the responding party might finally bend and offer a fair settlement amount. With this in mind, litigation can provide an advantage before it actually begins.
Authority When Cooperation is Not Given
Lastly, you will likely appreciate the authority that only litigation can bring to a personal injury claim. When the liable party and their insurance company absolutely will not cooperate, litigation provides the solution. They cannot ignore your lawsuit like they can ignore your reasoning during settlement discussion. If they do refuse to respond to your lawsuit, then the court will rule in your favor by default.
Taking a Case to Court Could Be the Right Decision
Heading to the courtroom to conclude your personal injury case does not need to be a dreaded experience. With Habbas & Associates by your side, we can help you understand how litigation can be beneficial, not something to fear. While the majority of the cases we handle are settled, we keep our clients’ best interests in center focus at all times, which sometimes means using the courtroom
Want to know more about your options when pursuing compensation after suffering a personal injury? Call (888) 387-4053 to speak to a member of Habbas & Associates in San Jose today.