Trial vs Settlement: Pros and Cons

According to The Law Dictionary, the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. While it is unlikely that your case will be tried in front of a jury, knowing the risks and benefits of settlements and trials will be helpful in the process of reviewing your case with your personal injury attorney. Further, hiring a personal injury attorney with a vast amount of trial experience and experience in resolving complicated injury cases will most likely positively impact the value of your case regardless of the path you take.


A settlement means that your case has been resolved out of court. Typically, it means a one- time payment has been mutually agreed upon by the parties and the defendant usually does not admit fault.

Pros of settling your case include:

  • You have the certainty of knowing how much you will be getting. The parties control the outcome. 
  • Your claim will be resolved a lot sooner than if your case proceeds to trial.
  • You usually receive your money within a week to about 30 days of reaching the settlement with the other side.
  • Attorney fees and other costs are significantly reduced by avoiding a trial.
  • Settlements are significantly less stressful than going to trial.
  • Settlements are typically private

Cons of settling your case include:

  • The monetary awards for settlements may be smaller than what a jury of your peers would award you for your damages.
  • The defendant usually does not admit any wrongdoing.
  • Settlements are often times confidential, which could be a plus, but if you have a story to share or if you want the individual or entity to make changes to avoid similar injuries, you may want the information to be public.


Taking a claim to court involves a public trial with a judge, attorneys, witnesses, testimonies and a jury. The jury decides who is at fault, and what amount of monetary damages, if any, should be awarded.

Pros of taking your case to trial include:

  • Jury awards are sometimes a lot larger than the amounts offered during settlement negotiations.
  • Trials are public record, so the defendant will be held accountable if the jury finds in your favor.
  • More meaningful closure for the injured party.

Cons of taking your case to trial include:

  • Even if a case seems clear cut, there is always a degree of uncertainty about your success at trial. You never know how a jury is going to decide a case. The parties lose all control over the outcome.
  • Trials are lengthy and time-consuming.
  • Trials can be expensive – even if you receive a larger reward, much of that will go towards litigation expenses and attorney fees related to your trial.
  • As noted earlier, trials are public record. This can be considered a pro, but if you wish for your affairs to remain private, it is a con.

The personal injury attorneys at Wilson Law PA have experience with all kinds of personal injury claims from car accidents to medical malpractice. During your free consultation, our attorneys will go over the likelihood of your case going to trial. Our lawyers have extensive litigation experience, providing you with the edge you need in the event that your case goes to trial.

If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, please contact Wilson Law, P.A. using the form on this page or call (919) 800-0919 today to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and throughout North Carolina.

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