Should I settle or go to court during a public liability claim?

Published 26 Sep 2018

Public liability claims enable you to recoup the financial and emotional costs of suffering an injury due to someone else's negligence. Defendants regularly offer monetary settlements to claimants, particularly if they acknowledge liability and believe they would lose in court.

But should you accept the settlement or proceed to the later stages of litigation instead, where a judge will have the final decision? Every case is different, but here are some of the factors you may wish to consider before making your choice:

1. The size of the settlement

Many defendants prefer to settle because of the expenses they could incur if they fail to sway a judge. Nevertheless, the settlement won't necessarily fully reflect your potential losses, especially if you experienced significant pain and suffering or a drop in your quality of life.

Calculate your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, loss of income and superannuation, as well as any non-economic losses that resulted from your injuries. Does the settlement feel fair?

2. The strength of your case

Some public liability claims are fairly clear-cut decisions. If the defendant owed you a duty of care and was obviously negligent, you may feel confident taking your case to court when offered an inadequate settlement.

However, most claims have areas of dispute that could mean putting your fate in a judge's hands is a substantial risk. Did your actions contribute to your injuries? Was the defendant's negligence directly responsible? Settlements provide certainty, which you may prefer when a case hangs in the balance.

3. Your patience levels

Personal injury cases that go through the court system can take years to resolve. Some medical negligence claims may last decades when you include the various appeals and legal hold-ups that can occur.

Seeking compensation while dealing with the financial and emotional strain of serious injuries on you and your family is therefore challenging. Many people simply don't have the patience or energy to pursue public liability claims all the way to a judge's decision.

4. Your lawyer's advice

Claimants are emotionally invested in their case, making it difficult for them to make objective decisions based on the facts. This is where experienced public liability claims lawyers can provide impartial advice on the best way to proceed.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers, our team examines your case in extensive detail to ensure the recommendations we offer are suited to your needs. Please contact us today to find out more.