Asbestos Claims: Should You Settle or Go to Court?
Have you decided to file a claim because you developed a disease due to asbestos exposure? Then you should know that your legal action can move in two different directions: settlement or court trial. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Settling?Settling means that you reach an agreement with the other party and consequently put an end to the legal procedure. By settling, the defendant recognizes that they have exposed you to asbestos and they agree to provide compensation for the physical and emotional injuries caused by the correlated disease. The amount of money that they will provide is specified in the settlement offer. You, as a claimant, have the right to accept or reject this offer. If you opt for the latter choice, your lawyer can proceed to negotiations and try to obtain a different amount of compensation.
The biggest advantage of settling and the reason most asbestos claims are solved this way is that the legal process concludes quickly and you get to recover the money relatively fast. It usually takes several months before you receive the award.
Another benefit is that you can avoid the lengthy, stressful and costly experience of going through a traditional court lawsuit.
However, settling also implies some disadvantages you should be aware of. The money you might get is usually less than the amount established by a court verdict. Given the fact that this procedure is subject to negotiations, the party that has the best legal representative will probably get the most out of the settlement.
Claimants are faced with the challenge of paying costly treatments while being physically incapable of earning an income. Therefore, they often rush to accept the first offer although it's less than they expected or deserved.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Court TrialIf you decide to reject the settlement offer, or the other party refuses to make one, your asbestos claim will go to trial and be judged by a court.
Keep in mind that a legal lawsuit doesn't mean that a settlement can no longer be reached. The defendant can decide to come forward with an offer at any time before the verdict is given.
However, once the verdict is reached, there is no way of turning things around. If the defendant is found guilty, they'll have to pay the compensation amount established by the court. If they are not considered liable, you won't be offered an award. Nonetheless, you'll have the right to appeal the decision. In this case, your claim would be re-examined by an appeal court.
The biggest advantage of a legal lawsuit is that asbestos victims usually get a larger settlement amount through a court verdict than they would get by settling.
The drawback, on the other hand, arises from the difficulty of moving the claim through the court system. Once you get to trial, the procedure starts to become more complicated; more paperwork is involved, and it takes more time to reach a conclusion. You might have to wait for several months or several years depending on your claim's complexity and how swamped the court is with other cases.
Who Can Help Me Make the Right Decision?If you want to increase your chances of having a successful asbestos claim, get a lawyer who has significant experience in asbestos litigation. This expert will be able to help you submit your request promptly, keep you update on every step of the process and negotiate the highest settlement amount possible.
It's up to you to decide whether you want to settle or go to trial. However, your lawyer will play an essential role in helping you make the best decision. He or she will give pertinent advice based on previous experiences and the know how that allows them to analyze your claim and make relevant predictions.