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Cochran Firm Blog, Philadelphia

Ways To Keep Disputes Out of Court

Have you recently been injured but are unsure about what options may be ahead of you? We’ve got just the guide to answer all your questions. Contrary to what you might think, very few personal injury cases actually make it to court. Most are settled well before that. Today, we’ll talk about some of the options you may hear mentioned when pursuing your personal injury case.

Remember, however, that a lot of the legal process is dependent on your specific case, as well as individual state laws. Not all of these options may be applicable to your specific situation. The best thing to do is always to reach out to a lawyer for a consultation. Here at the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office, we offer FREE consultations for just this reason.

In the meantime, however, keep reading to learn more about some of the most common ways to keep disputes out of court.

Why Might You Want To Keep Your Dispute Out Of Court?

First, let’s talk about a few of the biggest reasons why you may not want your dispute to end up in court.

Time Considerations

Unfortunately, personal injury cases can take years to resolve. Insurance companies may try to stall, and paperwork may be difficult to dig up. Additionally, depending on how busy your court is, you may be scheduled for a date far in the future.

As a result of factors such as these, your case may take a long time to actually resolve in court.

For certain individuals, especially victims of personal injury, you may not want or be able to hold out for that long. In cases such as these, an out-of-court settlement may be a preferable option. Do keep in mind, however, that you do not have to settle right away for a low offer just for the sake of settling. Talk to a lawyer and ask about your legal options. They’ll likely be able to assess your situation and give you a few possible options.

Trials Can Be Unpredictable

Generally speaking, a settlement can be less risky than a trial (for both parties). Unlike a

settlement, the outcome of a trial isn’t known until the very end. A variety of things can happen between the filing of a lawsuit and the actual trial. Unlike a settlement, juries and judges may have personal biases that can have an effect on the outcome. Additionally, one of the sides could try to appeal after losing their case, therein dragging the case out even longer.

Due to this, victims often prefer to settle so that at least some compensation is guaranteed.

Again, keep in mind that you do not always have to settle. Schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney today. They’ll be able to help you decide whether a settlement offer is fair and if going to trial could be beneficial in your case.

What Is A Settlement?

Marc G. BrecherSimply put, a settlement is typically an agreed-upon amount between the defendant and the injured party. The settlement is typically monetary and meant to compensate the victim or make them “whole.”

A settlement can occur at almost any time — before a lawsuit is even filed and up to the time that a final verdict is reached during a trial.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In the case that going to court isn’t the right fit for your situation, here are a few other options.

Settlement Conference

Before going to trial, you might participate in something called a settlement conference. This is essentially intended to be a process that helps two parties agree on a settlement. A settlement conference is generally much shorter and less formal than a trial. A judge may still be present to oversee the process, however.


If two parties are seeking an alternative resolution that still involves a third party making a binding decision on the case, arbitration may be the solution.

Arbitration is a less formal alternative to court. It’s generally much faster, private, and does not become part of public record. Similarly to a court trial, arbitration still involves calling witnesses and presenting evidence. Instead of speaking to a judge, however, you generally present to an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. These are usually qualified legal or business experts that understand the field. A decision made in arbitration is typically binding unless the parties agree otherwise beforehand. It’s important to keep in mind though, that unlike court, arbitrations are much harder to appeal.


The most informal option of the ones mentioned here is probably mediation. Unlike both court trials and arbitration, mediation is not binding. It is voluntary and typically aims to facilitate a conversation between two parties.

If mediation is not successful, the parties involved may have to proceed with a trial.

Last Notes

We hope that this short guide has helped you understand some of your options a little better. Here are a few last things we want to leave you with.

Workers Compensation

If you’ve sustained an injury due to someone else’s fault, you should always consult with a personal injury lawyer. Do keep in mind, though, that not all injuries are solved via a lawsuit. Some injuries may result in a different type of compensation. For example, let’s talk a little bit about workers comp.

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance kept by most companies. It is meant to protect employees that can be injured while on the job. If you suffer an injury while working, immediately report it to your employer, and seek medical attention. Following that, keep all bills and medical paperwork, and consult with an attorney. They may advise you to file a workers comp claim. Workers comp may be able to cover a variety of costs such as medical bills, lost wages, and more. Do keep in mind, however, that none of these are necessarily guaranteed. This is where an experienced attorney may be able to help you get you fair compensation.

Why Do I Need A Lawyer?

Legal proceedings can be a lot more complicated than they seem. For starters, there’s paperwork that needs to be filed. These documents can often be convoluted and difficult for the average person to understand. This is where an attorney shines. They’ll be able to walk you through paperwork, explain settlement offers, file appeals, and much more.

Additionally, they’ll know the correct deadlines for filing various cases. A common mistake to make is thinking that you can file a lawsuit anytime after an injury occurs. The truth is that there may be a statute of limitations in your state on personal injury cases. In the state of Philadelphia, this is often two years (or even less, depending on the parties involved).

Lastly, a lawyer can help you decide on the correct course of action in regard to your case. This may actually be the most important step in handling a possible personal injury case. As we mentioned above, there are a lot of alternatives to going to trial. You’ll want someone to walk you through your options, weigh the pros and cons, and help you make that decision.

Personal Injury Lawyer In Philadelphia

Looking for some help with a possible personal injury case? Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with the Cochran Firm Philadelphia office. One of our attorneys can evaluate your case and walk you through your legal options. If you do choose to proceed, our highly qualified lawyers can help you through every step of the legal process.

The best part? The Cochran Firm Philadelphia office handles most cases on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid when you do. Plus, your first consultation is actually FREE. This way, you’re able to make an informed decision regarding your case without paying a ton of upfront legal fees.

Our firm handles a variety of cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, slip & falls, medical malpractice, birth injuries, and more. Not sure if you have a case? No worries; simply call or fill out our online form to get in touch with our team of experienced car accident lawyer. We’ll take a look at your case with you.

Our office can be reached at 1 (800) 969-4400.