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Posted in Personal Injury on February 27, 2023   |  by Gary Burger

The Pros and Cons of Settling vs. Going to Trial in Personal Injury Cases

The Pros and Cons of Settling vs. Going to Trial in Personal Injury Cases. Personal injury cases can be overwhelming and confusing, especially when it comes to deciding whether to accept an insurance company's settlement offer, or file a lawsuit and take the case to trial. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and it's essential to consider each carefully before making a decision. At Burger Law, our St. Louis personal injury lawyers always strive to get out clients the best possible results in a settlement. However, as experienced injury trial attorneys with over 80 years of combined litigation experience, we're not afraid to take the fight in front of a judge and jury if that's what it takes to get the compensation you deserve. Never accept a settlement offer without speaking to an attorney first. Call us today at (314) 500-HURT or contact us online for a free consultation.

If you were injured through another's negligence anywhere in Missouri or Illinois, see how much your claim may be worth by using our free personal injury calculator.

Pros and Cons of Settling a Personal Injury Case

Settling a personal injury case involves reaching an agreement with the defendant or the insurance company to resolve the case outside of court. Its advantages and disadvantages include:


  • Quicker Resolution — One of the most significant advantages of settling a personal injury case is that it can be resolved more quickly than going to trial. Trials can be lengthy and time-consuming, taking months or even years to prepare for and resolve. In contrast, settlements can often be reached within a few months, allowing you to move on with your life more quickly. This is especially beneficial if you're unable to work and need the money quickly.
  • Less Stressful — Settling a personal injury case can also be less stressful than going to trial. Trials can be emotional and challenging and you may be called to testify. Settling a case is typically a more straightforward process that does not require as much effort or emotional energy. In a settlement, your personal injury lawyer will handle the negotiation and communication with the insurance company for you.
  • Guaranteed Outcome — When you settle a personal injury case, you know the outcome in advance. This can provide a sense of certainty and closure, allowing you to move on with your life, and not have to think about how a jury is seeing the case.
  • More Privacy — Terms of a settlement are usually confidential, while any court proceedings are public record. If there are aspects of your case you'd like to keep private, a settlement may be a better option.


  • Lower Compensation — One of the most significant disadvantages of settling a personal injury case is that the compensation may be lower than what you could receive in a trial. In insurance company is only obligated to pay you an amount up to the policy's policy limits. In a trial, you may also be awarded more money from the at-fault party directly.
  • Limited Options — When you settle a personal injury case, the matter is considered entirely resolved. You cannot go back and ask for more compensation if your injuries are worse than you initially thought, and you cannot take the case to trial if you are not satisfied with the settlement.
  • The Insurance Company Can Still Delay the Process — While settling will get you paid quicker than going to trial, and insurance adjuster still may draw the settlement process out in hopes that you'll eventually agree to less money than you deserve.

Pros and Cons of Going to Trial in a Personal Injury Case

Taking a case to trial involves presenting evidence and testimony in front of a judge and jury. The jury will decide the outcome of the case based on instructions given by the judge. The pros and cons are:


  • Higher Compensation — One of the most significant advantages of going to trial in a personal injury case is that you may receive higher compensation than in a settlement. Juries may award larger sums of money than insurance companies are willing to offer in settlements. This can be particularly important if your injuries are severe and require ongoing medical care.
  • Opportunity for Justice — Most settlement agreements contain language that allow for you to make a recovery without the liable party admitting blame. Going to trial can provide you with the opportunity to seek justice and hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. This can be particularly important if the other party's actions were particularly egregious or resulted in significant harm.
  • A Neutral Party Decides Your Case — In a settlement, the insurance company is motivated to pay you as little as possible. At trial, the jury is the trier of fact, and they'll determine what damages you are owed.
  • Punitive Damages — Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury cases. They seek to punish the liable party for intentionally causing harm or acting with extreme recklessness. Insurance doesn't cover punitive damages, so you wouldn't be able to secure those in a settlement. At trial, a jury may decide to award you punitive damages as well.


  • Lengthy Process — One of the most significant disadvantages of going to trial in a personal injury case is that it can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. Trials can last weeks or even months, requiring a lot of preparation and effort. This can be particularly challenging if you are dealing with ongoing medical care or other issues related to your injuries.
  • Expensive — Going to trial can also be expensive. While personal injury attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they take a percentage of your final compensation as payment, there may be other costs associated with going to trial.
  • Uncertain Outcome — While trials can lead to higher compensation, a jury may end up siding with the defendant, and you'd be left without anything. Juries can be unpredictable, and even a strong case can be lost if the evidence and arguments are not presented effectively. This uncertainty can be stressful and can lead to anxiety and worry.
  • You Have the Burden of Proof In a trial, you have to prove the other side's negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. Meaning, you have to show that it's more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused your injuries.

So, Which Option Should You Choose For Your Personal Injury Claim?

Choosing between settling a personal injury case and going to trial is a decision that should be made carefully, with the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Factors that should be considered include the severity of your injuries, the amount of compensation you are seeking, the strength of your case, and your willingness to take on the risks and expenses of a trial. Ultimately, the decision to settle or go to trial should be based on what is best for you and your unique situation. Your lawyer can provide guidance and advice on which option is most likely to lead to a favorable outcome.

Missouri and Illinois Injury Trial Attorneys | Burger Law

Settling a personal injury case can offer a quicker, less stressful resolution with a guaranteed outcome. However, if the insurance company refuses to be fair in negotiations, you need an experienced injury trial attorney by your side to defend your rights in court. At Burger Law, we're quicker than most in filing a lawsuit; we want the insurance company to know we won't back down until you get the full and fair compensation you deserve, even if it means going to trial. Speak to a personal injury lawyer today at (314) 500-HURT or contatc us online for to discuss your case for free.