Varying Levels of Success: Understanding Civil Litigation Outcomes

concept of law and justiceSo you took the first big step in deciding to file a lawsuit. Now what? There are a series of possible outcomes that could occur depending on the unique circumstances of your case. Regardless of the type of civil legal matter you are involved in, whether it is a personal injury case or an auto accident, the objective is to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable. Usually this manifests itself in terms of monetary compensation. In order to determine the economic interests of your case, a court will weigh your compensable losses such as wage loss, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Recovering these expenses usually occurs either by way of a settlement agreement between the parties or after a verdict has been reached in a trial.

Settlement

Settlement is the most common and usually most favorable outcome for plaintiffs seeking damages for their injury. Sometimes settlements can occur without ever having to file a court case. This is especially true with companies and other similar entities that do not want to bear the cost of litigation. A settlement offer can be made at any time during litigation, but usually happens during or right after completing the discovery phase, which is the fact-finding part of civil litigation. Once each of the parties knows the information pertaining to their case and the facts, each side can ascertain whether they wish to settle the matter or take it to court. Taking matters to trial can be costly, and can drag out longer than the parties would like. A downside of agreeing to a settlement is that an injured party runs the risk of accepting a lesser amount than they may have otherwise received, had the matter gone to trial.

The opposite is also true; the injured party may risk the possibility of receiving a lesser sum at trial. Settlement negotiations allow autonomy for the plaintiff to accept, deny, or make counteroffers. Settlement negotiations are often aided by mediation or arbitration, which are out of court procedures that help parties reach a reasonable settlement amount.

Trial

Sometimes, parties are not able to (or choose not to) reach an amicable resolution before the trial date. In this instance, the matter is set for trial. At trial, each side will have an opportunity to call witnesses to testify as to what happened, who did what, and what damage occurred. A trial will take place either in front of just a judge or in front of a jury. In a jury trial, the judge is also present, but it is the jury that will ultimately determine whether the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injury, and what types and amounts of monetary recovery the plaintiff should be entitled to receive.

Boston Personal Injury Attorneys

Filing a lawsuit is a big decision that can have a lasting impact on your life. John J. Sheehan understands how difficult it can be to understand what your legal rights are at such a difficult time. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will fight to ensure the most positive outcome possible, while keeping you informed about what is going on every step of the way. If you or anyone you know has been injured due to the negligence of another in the greater Boston area, contact us toll free at 877-762-9510 to learn more about your rights.