When faced with a personal injury claim, individuals often find themselves at a crossroads: Should they opt for a settlement or take the case to trial? Each path comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. In Oklahoma, where local legal nuances can significantly influence the outcome, the guidance of a Tulsa personal injury attorney can be invaluable. This article delves into the pros and cons of both options, aiming to equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.
Speed of Resolution: Settlements Are Generally Faster in Oklahoma
Traffic collisions stand as the primary contributors to both accidents and instances of personal injury within Tulsa. The year 2019 witnessed a significant total of 13,388 traffic-related incidents within Tulsa County. Within this scope, law enforcement and highway patrol documented a distressing count of 50 fatalities and an excess of 300 cases involving severe injuries.
In Oklahoma, where the legal system can be backlogged, and court dates may be months or even years away, one of the most significant advantages of opting for a settlement is how the case can be resolved. Trials can be lengthy, sometimes taking years to conclude. Settlements, on the other hand, can often be negotiated in a matter of weeks or months.
A quick settlement can provide much-needed relief for those dealing with medical bills, lost wages, and other immediate financial pressures.
Control Over Outcome: Settlements Offer More Certainty
When you choose to settle, you and the other party have more control over the outcome. Both sides agree on a specific amount, and the case is resolved without needing a lengthy court battle. In a trial, the decision is in a judge’s or jury’s hands, which can be unpredictable.
If you’re looking for a more certain outcome without the gamble of a jury’s decision, a settlement negotiated with the help of a Tulsa personal injury attorney may be the better option for you.
Legal Costs: Trials Can Be Expensive in Oklahoma
Taking a case to trial in Oklahoma can be a costly affair. There are court fees, attorney fees, and the costs associated with gathering evidence, among other expenses. While some attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if you win, the financial burden of a trial can still be significant. Settlements usually involve fewer legal costs, making them a more economical option for many people facing financial constraints.
Emotional Toll: Trials Can Be Stressful
The emotional aspect of going to trial is another factor to consider. Trials can be emotionally draining experiences that last for an extended period. The process often involves a public airing of personal and sometimes painful issues.
Settlements are generally less stressful, as they are more private and resolved quickly. If you’re looking to avoid the emotional toll of a trial, settling might be the better choice for you.
Potential for Higher Compensation: Trials Can Offer Bigger Rewards
While settlements are generally quicker and less stressful, they may result in lower compensation than what could potentially be awarded in a trial. You might receive more compensation if your case is strong and you’re willing to go through the lengthy and challenging trial process.
However, there’s also the risk of losing and getting nothing, so it’s a gamble that should be considered carefully and discussed with your attorney.
Public Record: Settlements Offer More Privacy
Trials are public proceedings, and the case details, including any awarded compensation, become part of the public record. This lack of privacy can concern some people who prefer to keep their matters confidential.
Settlements, on the other hand, are usually confidential. Both parties can agree to keep the details and the amount of compensation private, offering a level of discretion that a trial does not.
Complexity of the Case: Some Cases Are Better Suited for Trial
Some personal injury cases involve complex issues that may be better suited for a trial. For example, if multiple parties are involved, the case could set a legal precedent, or if there are complicated medical issues that require expert testimony, going to trial might be the more appropriate option.
In such instances, the expertise of a Tulsa personal injury attorney can be invaluable in determining the best course of action.
Choosing between a personal injury settlement and a trial is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. Each option has its pros and cons, and what might be advantageous in one situation could be detrimental in another. Consulting a Tulsa personal injury attorney can give you expert advice to make the best choice for your circumstances.
By understanding the benefits and drawbacks of both settlements and trials, especially in Oklahoma’s legal landscape, you can make a more informed decision and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.