In many car accident and personal injury cases, clients often wish to “settle out of court” so as to avoid the stress, anxiety and uncertainty of a jury trial. In many cases this is entirely possible and the client can still achieve a settlement that approximates the fair value of their case. However, in a certain number of cases, settlement offers pre-trial may not constitute adequate compensation for the damage inflicted and thus a jury trial may be a necessity. Sometimes, despite the fact that the injured individual is counseled by their lawyer that the settlement being offered is less than what a jury might return in a verdict, nonetheless the client will decide to accept the settlement offer rather than go to court. However, to maximize the value of a claim sometimes it is necessary to present a case to a jury, particularly in those cases where the insurance carrier is making an offer that is much lower than the demonstrated value of the claim.
Every client has to make their own decision as to whether they should settle out of court or proceed to trial by jury. The vast majority of all cases do settle out of court, however, those cases that result in settlements which objectively are close to the value of the claim are likely those who have been prepared by counsel to be presented to the jury in the event pre-trial negotiations are unsuccessful. The best way to achieve the maximum value in settlement negotiations is to be ready to proceed to trial in the event the offers made are not consistent with the evidence in a case.