If you’ve been injured and hurt in an accident or are the victim of medical malpractice, you’re probably wondering whether it’s better to negotiate a claim with the responsible party or to file a lawsuit.
This is a hard decision to make, and there are pros and cons to both approaches. If you decide to negotiate a claim, you will deal directly with the responsible party (or insurance company) without involving the courts.
Negotiating a Claim Out of Court
The first step in deciding whether to negotiate or sue is understanding the difference between the two processes. When you negotiate a claim, you and the responsible party will work together to reach a compensation agreement. This can be done without involving the courts, saving time and money.
Benefits of Negotiating a Claim
There are several benefits to negotiating a claim out of court, including:
- It can be faster than going to court.
- It can be less expensive than going to court.
- You avoid the stress of a trial.
- You can have control over the process.
Disadvantages of Negotiating a Claim
- You may not be paid as much money as you would if you won in court.
- The responsible party may not be willing to negotiate in good faith.
Filing a Lawsuit
If you file a lawsuit, you will take the responsible party to court. Trials can be lengthy and expensive, but it may be your best option if you’re seeking a large amount of money or if the responsible party is unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
This is especially helpful if the responsible party is a big institution, such as a giant company or the government. In Canada, this is called class action lawsuits. This type of lawsuit can involve one or more people who have been wronged by the same organization.
Benefits of Filing a Lawsuit
- You can get more money than you would if you negotiated a claim out of court.
- The court may order the other party to take specific actions, such as fixing a dangerous condition on their property.
- It can send a message to the responsible party that their actions will not go unpunished.
Disadvantages of Filing a Lawsuit
- It can be time-consuming and expensive.
- The trial process can be lengthy.
- You may lose your case, even if you have strong evidence against the responsible party.
When to Negotiate or Sue
Not only is every case different, but there’s also no easy answer to whether you should negotiate or sue. You need to consider the specific facts of your case and decide which option is best for you. Here are factors to keep in mind:
1. The Severity of Your Injuries
If you’ve been seriously injured, you may be more likely to win a large amount of money in court, so filing a lawsuit may be a better option.
For instance, if the accident resulted in a long term disability, you may want to hire qualified long term disability lawyers to help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve. Remember that having a long term disability can affect every area of your life, from your job to your relationships, so it’s vital to get the best possible outcome.
Plus, it can be expensive if your condition requires costly medications, therapy, or assistive devices. If the responsible party is unwilling to negotiate a fair settlement, it may be necessary to sue them and get the compensation you deserve.
2. The Cost of Going to Court
If your injuries are not serious and the responsible party is willing to negotiate, settling your claim out of court may be cheaper and faster.
For example, if the responsible party offers you a fair settlement and you don’t have to pay any lawyer fees, it may be better to take the money and move on with your life.
However, if you’re seeking a large amount of money or the responsible party is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, going to court may be your best option.
3. The Risk of Losing Your Case
There’s always a risk that you will not win your case, even if you have strong evidence against the responsible party. If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, you should speak to a lawyer, like Valent, to get an idea of your chances of success.
Remember that even if you lose your case, you may still be able to negotiate a settlement out of court.
4. The Statute of Limitations
In most provinces and territories, including Nova Scotia and Ontario, you have two years from the accident date to sue the other party. This is called the statute of limitations. You may not be able to sue if you miss the deadline, so it’s important to act quickly.
If you’re unsure whether to file a lawsuit or try to negotiate a settlement, you should talk to an attorney immediately after the accident. They can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your case.
5. The Responsible Party’s Ability to Pay
If the responsible party doesn’t have much money, it may not be worth your time and money to sue them. In this case, negotiating a claim may be a better option.
However, if the responsible party is a large company or has a lot of money, taking them to court may be your best chance of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve.
6. The Complexity of Your Case
If your case is simple and there’s not much evidence to support your claim, settling out of court is the best option.
But if your case is complex, or there’s a lot of evidence to gather, it may be better to file a lawsuit so you can get help from a lawyer. They can investigate your case, interview witnesses, and collect evidence to build your case.
7. The Amount of Time You’ve Been Off Work
You may receive lost wages if you have been off work for a long time. Lost wages can be tricky to calculate, so it’s best to speak to a lawyer about your case. If you’re unsure, always speak with an experienced attorney to estimate your potential lost earnings.
8. The Emotional Impact of Your Injuries
If your injuries have had a significant emotional impact on your life, you can recover damages for your pain and suffering. This type of compensation is called non-pecuniary damages.
Calculating non-pecuniary damages can be tricky, so it’s best to speak to a lawyer about your case. They can help you understand what you may be entitled to and fight for the maximum amount of compensation possible.
9. Your Personal Preference
Some prefer to avoid the hassle and expense of going to court. If this is your preference, you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement without filing a lawsuit.
However, many people prefer to have their day in court. If this is you, speak to a lawyer about filing a lawsuit.
The Bottom Line
The best decision for your case will depend on the specific circumstances of your accident and your personal preferences.
If unsure what to do, you should always speak to a lawyer about your options. They can help you understand the pros and cons of each option and make the best decision for your case.