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To settle or not to settle a personal injury lawsuit?

Though there are cases where a business must go all the way in defending itself against a personal injury claim, most of the time lawsuits do not make it to trial. Generally, the parties negotiate a settlement instead.

While settling a personal injury claim against yourself or your business may not be as satisfying as winning a dismissal or not guilty verdict, it usually makes better financial sense. While the decision to settle or not rests with you, an experienced personal injury defense attorney will likely take the time to weigh your options and assess your chances of prevailing in court.

Among the things to consider: the strength of the case against you. An obviously bogus claim will be quickly dismissed, but if there is evidence that one of your employees was even partially to blame for what happened, settling may be in your best interest.

Next, consider how much in damages the plaintiff could potentially receive if he or she prevails, along with other costs like attorneys fees. There is also negative publicity to consider, which would also affect your business’ bottom line. Compare that to how much you are able and willing to spend on a settlement, and if the latter figure is lower, settling is probably your best option.

Negotiation with the plaintiff will go through his or her attorney. Your lawyer may have negotiated with the other attorney before, and have important knowledge about his or her negotiating style and personality.

Though most personal injury cases get settled before the trial date, sometimes forcing the plaintiff to make his or her case before a judge or jury makes more sense. The right attorney will be equally adept at negotiating and defending his or her client at trial.

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