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Settlement vs Long Term Trial: What should you choose?

If you have been hurt in an accident, seeking compensation can be a difficult process. Deciding whether to accept a settlement or go to trial is dependent on many factors and it is important to understand the differences, so you can make an informed decision and pursue the best plan of action to receive the compensation you deserve.

What is the difference between a settlement and trial?


A settlement is the resolution of a lawsuit that takes place before the matter goes to court.

The vast majority of civil suits never make it to the courts because they are resolved in a settlement. This is because settlements have many benefits that can help resolve a case in an easy and amiable way.

Benefits of a settlement include:

  1. Efficiency

    Settlements are faster and more cost-efficient than trials, taking less time and requiring fewer legal fees.

  2. Guaranteed compensation

    Settlements are a guaranteed way of receiving compensation. The parties involved decide on the settlement package before it is accepted, meaning there is no ambiguity about what you will receive. In addition, the details of a settlement are often kept private, guaranteeing protection for the people involved.

  3. Reduced emotional toll

    Settlement helps the injured party avoid the emotional toll involved with going to court. At trial, the defense will attempt to minimize the victim’s injuries and experiences, often causing emotional duress. With a settlement, the injured party can move on and begin the healing process without having to relive their experiences in public.

It is important to remember that a settlement is a compromise that is made to move the matter through to a conclusion. While a settlement is often a good option, there are many circumstances that may make accepting that compromise difficult or even impossible. If you find yourself unable to reach a settlement, that is when you will need to consider a trial.


A trial occurs when a settlement is not reached, and the involved parties instead present their arguments to a judge or jury in court. The court decides if the defendant will be held liable and what the compensation will be.

A trial can be a risky choice but may be required to receive the compensation and recognition you need to move forward.

Cases go to trial when:

  1. There is no chance of settlement

    When there is no offer of a settlement or a settlement cannot be reached, a case will go to trial. This often occurs in complex cases, where it is difficult to prove negligence or the liable party. The decision will then fall on the court to determine if compensation will be rewarded and how much.

  2. There is the possibility of a higher compensation amount

    When injured victims seek compensation, insurance companies will try to minimize damages by offering a lower amount of compensation. Whereas settlements require a compromise on both sides, a court may offer more money based on the facts of the case.

  3. The wrong-doing demands justice

    In a settlement, there is no public record of wrongdoing, whereas going to court can be a way to achieve judgment. Some cases require this type of justice; in the case of a serious accident, where an individual is left with a debilitating injury or the accident resulted in death, choosing a trial can be beneficial for victims to be heard and receive closure.

Remember that trials are a risk. They are publicized, and often details about the individuals involved are released and made public. There is also no guarantee of compensation when you go to trial; you must accept the verdict that the judge offers, which can be much less than the desired amount.

The decision to go to trial needs to be pursued only with experienced legal counsel and a clear understanding of the potential risks.

Why you need a lawyer

Knowing when to settle and when to pursue a trial is an important and daunting decision; we recommend speaking with an experienced lawyer to help determine the best solutions based on your specific case.

Lawyers consider many different aspects when it comes to determining whether a case should settle or go to trial. Lawyers will help you consider:

  • the severity of the injuries you sustained;
  • treatment received;
  • future medical treatment that may be needed;
  • the economic impact;
  • your personal details (e.g., age, family status, employment);
  • legal strength of your argument in a court room; and,
  • the impacts of the jurisdiction where you live.

Beyond these considerations, lawyers are able to offer an unbiased opinion regarding your case and circumstances. We understand that the period right after an accident can be difficult and it can be nearly impossible to consider your options rationally when emotions are high. An experienced lawyer can bring a voice of reason and help direct you to the best solution possible for your case.

Don’t Decide Alone: Contact The Morris Law Group

If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious accident, contact The Morris Law Group for a free no obligation consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. We have been practicing personal injury law in Hamilton and the Golden Horseshoe for over 60 years. We ensure that your rights are preserved and that you receive the personal attention you deserve. At our law firm we work on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay until your case settles.

All personal injury firms will work to get you the best settlement, but only at The Morris Law Group will you get the care and support you need at such a difficult time. Contact us today.


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