In personal injury cases, the insurance company or defendant will first make a settlement offer, and only if such offer is unacceptable to the victim, the case goes to trial. A majority of personal injury cases are settled before the trial or even before a civil lawsuit is filed. A settlement can also be offered during a trial, but before the final verdict is read in court. Sometimes a settlement amount is offered to the victim, when the jury is deliberating, when the defendant feels the case might not go in his favor.
This is the risk of going to court. What happens if you realize the case is not going your way? What happens if you misjudged how much evidence you have and how awesome it is? What happens if you thought your evidence was incontrovertible but it is actually assailable? You may want to negotiate with the other side but that does not mean they have to even speak with you. As easily as you can detect the case is not going your way the other side is realizing this case is leaning their way all the way.
They do not have to negotiate with you or settle at all. The other side may realize they may not have to pay anything at all. This is why most people settle before they go to court for this very reason.
No More Legal Complaints
Once the settlement amount offered by the defendant is agreeable to the victim, an agreement takes place, where the plaintiff agrees to the amount offered and relinquishes any further claims arising out of the accident. This agreement is sealed by signing a complete liability release by the plaintiff. For instance, an insurance company might offer $10,000 to the victim as compensation, and if the victim accepts and wants to receive this amount, he has to agree not to sue or pursue the personal injury case in any way in the future.
Saving Time & Money
Usually, most personal injury cases are settled when there is an insurance company involved. Insurance companies want to avoid the additional expense of trials, and are averse to risk of judgments that might be much more than what they would offer as a settlement. Settlements when they are fair also work in favor of the victim, as the victim also can avoid the added expense of trial and avoid the risk of a judgment that is not favorable.
The Insurance Company can Play the Waiting Game
Secondly, a court trial can drag on for a long time, which will deprive the victim of much needed funds, whereas a settlement would mean receiving the funds much quicker. Apart from the amount, the settlement agreement might also stipulate that the victim keep the matter private and not give any statements to the press.