Is My Civil Litigation Case Court-Worthy?

As someone who has asserted a lawsuit that includes a valid legal claim, you absolutely have the right to take your case all the way to a judge or jury—but that doesn’t mean you should. It is better to settle some claims out of court. There is always a risk that you will get nothing when you take a case to trial. In a settlement, at least you have a guaranteed payment, even if it is lower than you thought it might be.

A lot of time and effort goes into preparing a case for trial. Trials, especially for personal injury victims, can also be emotionally and physically draining as well. Some victims or their families may dread having to talk about their injuries or the event to a panel of people they don’t know.

Some claims, on the other hand, should be heard in front of a jury or judge for various reasons. Of course, that is not to say that if you are given the right settlement number that you should refuse. Your attorney will be able to help you decide when and if you should settle your case. Below are just a few circumstances where taking your claim all the way to trial may be a good idea.

Your Case Involves Severe Damages and Emotional Issues

In serious cases, an insurance company or other large company may not truly appreciate how much your case is worth. In those situations, you may not be able to get a large enough settlement amount for your claim. In severe cases that involve sympathetic victims and their families, telling your story to a jury may be the only way that you can get a verdict that will adequately address your losses.

In particularly egregious cases, you may be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are less focused on compensating you and aimed at punishing the wrongdoer. Those damages are simply not available in a settlement under most circumstances. It may take getting your case in front of a jury to have these often-substantial damages awarded.

You Want the Press or Attention Associated with Litigation

Sometimes the goal of litigation is not only to get damages for your claim but to also create awareness for an issue. This is especially true in cases that involve constitutional rights, such as suppression of your First Amendment rights to freedom of speech or religion. It can also be important if you are addressing a problem that affects more than just you or your situation, such as when there is ongoing discrimination or harassment in the workplace of a large company. Some product liability cases may be “worth” taking to trial because it warns others about a dangerous product.

Settlement is designed to not only cut losses and decrease costs, but it also downplays the effects of specific types of claims. Most settlements will include a clause that you must keep the agreement confidential. Of course, if you are trying to create awareness for an issue, that is exactly what you do not want to do.

It’s the Principle of the Matter

Some clients will state that they absolutely do not want to settle and want to take their case to court because they want the other side to have to deal with them—they want to be aggressive, annoying, or cause problems for the other party. This type of decision is extremely emotionally driven and may not make sense for a lot of cases. However, it is undoubtedly a motivating factor for some people who have been through a lot because of the defendant in a case.

Getting the Advice of a Professional

It will not always make sense to take a case all the way to a jury. Your attorney will be able to help you decide when settlement is a better option for a wide variety of reasons.

The team at Yardley Law can help you through this process. Call today to set up an appointment or to get more information.


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