Is it Better to Settle My Calgary, Alberta Personal Injury Claim or to Take it to Trial?

There are a lot of myths about the legal profession. One of them is that settlement is what weak lawyers do, while real attorneys to go trial.

Here’s the truth. At Merchant Law we are fierce litigators. We never shy away from a courtroom battle. But we’d be the first to tell you that battling your case out in court is not ideal.

There is a reason why 92% of personal injury cases settle. That reason is that it’s usually better for the client to do it that way. Here’s why.

 

Both your attorney and the defendant’s attorney have a good idea of what your case is worth.

In fact, before any settlement conference we sit down with our clients and come up with a settlement range: the highest offer we’re likely to receive and the lowest offer we recommend accepting. The defense is going through the same calculations.

Yes, there is a chance you will win more money at trial. It’s a risk that can come with a bigger reward.

Yet in many cases you won’t do that much better with a trial than you’d do with settlement.

So why do settlement conferences sometimes fail? There are times when the facts of the case are so disputed that the defense does dig in, sure that if they take that gamble they’ll walk away without having to pay anything at all.

 

Settlements are faster and more cost-effective.

Trials can take years. That’s a long time to go without money you need to get back on your feet.

In addition, trials can eat into your settlement money. For example, we might need to hire expert witnesses to take the stand. That’s far more expensive than getting the opinion of an expert witness that we can use during a settlement conference.

Trials can also launch rounds of appeals, which mean waiting even longer for your money.

 

Trials are a gamble.

There is always the chance that you’ll lose your case and walk away with nothing at all. You don’t know what a jury will do, and no lawyer can predict it. Once a case goes into litigation all we can do is create the best case we possibly can.

By contrast, settlement gives you plenty of control. You can accept a settlement or ask for revisions, negotiate terms and continue the conversation until and unless a deal falls apart. When you commit to negotiating and settlement the question is less whether you will get paid and more how much you will be paid.

Of course, if the insurance company is not negotiating in good faith or refuses to pay there’s not much you can do. But if both sides are willing to come to the table, it’s usually a good idea to take advantage of that fact.

 

Put a tough negotiator on your side!

The ability to negotiate a settlement is one of the most important skills a personal injury attorney can bring to the table. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling cases just like yours.

Contact us today! We’ll discuss the facts of your case, and come up with a strategy together. Our responsive, empathetic attorneys are here to help.

About Donald I.M. Outerbridge

Donald became the Executive Director of Merchant Law Group LLP starting in 1993, nearly 30 years ago. His experience managing law firms at various levels and in multiple provinces across Canada goes back even further to 1981.