Members of the public read about the large awards that are received by some plaintiffs, at the conclusion of a personal injury case. Why do a majority of claimants choose to accept an out-of-court settlement?
The holding of a trial introduces an element of uncertainty.
The defendant has no way of knowing how large an amount of money it might decide to award the plaintiff. Insurance companies do not want to become responsible for paying a huge sum of cash to any claimant. That is why insurance companies try to reach a settlement with each claimant.
By the same token, the plaintiff in a personal injury trial does not know how long that same legal proceeding might last. It might go on for weeks, or perhaps months. Yet most injured plaintiffs have already missed a large number of workdays.
Understand, too, that the typical plaintiff had to miss work at a time when he or she has felt the burden of multiple medical expenses. That fact explains the plaintiff’s desire to get back to earning money. Acceptance of an out-of-court settlement helps to hasten arrival of the day for the plaintiff’s return to the workplace.
Add to those elements of uncertainty the nature of the result from a trial. Both sides have the ability to seek an appeal. Hence, there might not be much certainty in a trial’s outcome. That contrasts sharply with the clear figures that get agreed to at the end of a negotiated settlement.
Lawyers tend to think in terms of ranges.
When the defense team for the defendant tries to imagine a jury’s possible verdict, it does not envision a number. Instead, it pictures a range of compensations, including both a possible minimum and maximum. When the accident lawyer in Waterloo for the various plaintiffs share facts with their clients, regarding a compensation package’s possible size, then each of them refers to a range, as opposed to a single figure. Hence, the plaintiff’s mind does not get focused on one particular figure.
If both parties start thinking in terms of ranges, then an insurance company’s offer could come close to the minimum amount desired by the claimant. Moreover, the claimant’s demand might quote an amount that approximates the largest figure in the insurance company’s envisioned range.
Consequently, the bargaining steps can proceed at a faster pace. For that reason, the negotiations that would normally precede an out-of-court settlement tend to provide the opposing parties with a more effective means for coming to some sort of agreement. An out-of-court agreement saves time. It also frees the defendant from worries, regarding a verdict’s possible size. The combination of those 2 factors works to discourage the widespread suing of responsible parties.