Are Personal Injury Settlements in the Public Record?

legal matters

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be seeking compensation for said injuries through a personal injury claim. It is best to obtain a personal injury lawyer to help guide you and litigate the process. The claim may go to court to reach a viable solution.

It is important to note that settlements made out of court are kept private, whereas rulings made in court are not. If you choose to settle your claim privately, your claim will not go into the public record. If you file a lawsuit against a party and your case has to be decided by a judge and jury, the claim will be published publicly. 

When the settlement is made public, this includes everything submitted to the court or jury that was a factor in reaching the ruling. This includes all witness testimonies, details of the victim’s injuries, and the resulting verdict amount in the case.

Consult With An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Finding a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City is imperative, as claims can be quite layered. A good lawyer will be able to guide you through the litigation process and lead you to the victory of the compensation that you deserve. Your lawyer can assist in finding a lawsuit that is the best course of action. If you value keeping your case and settlement details confidential, going to court is not the best choice. A lawyer can also use their resources and previous cases to determine if litigating your case in court will reach a favorable ruling.

Deciding Whether to Go To Court? Issues To Consider

The decision to file a lawsuit or claim may depend on whether your settlement amount is a public record. Claimants and insurance providers would prefer to settle personal injury claims outside of court. Mostly through forms of alternative dispute resolution. This method consists of mediation or arbitration instead of going to court. This allows for greater flexibility and is less stressful and expensive than litigating in court. You may also want to keep your personal information and details regarding your case private.

When settling out of court, you retain greater control over all aspects of the case. The defendant is also not required to admit their negligence or liability. The personal injury cases that go to trial are due to one side being unreasonable or desiring to make a public statement about what occurred. 

Another issue to consider when contemplating taking your claim to court is that litigation could take years to conclude. After the judge submits their ruling, either party can legally appeal the decision. This will transfer the case to another courtroom and requires another hearing. The appeals process could take years to complete as each appeal hearing must determine whether the law was misapplied or another error transpired in the previous trial.

If the case ruling results in being against you, you may feel that you wasted your time and money pursuing compensation that may not have been tangible in the first place. In contrast, settling with an insurance provider usually takes less than ten months and will save money for all parties involved in the claim. 

Both plaintiffs and defendants must weigh the pros and cons of going to trial. It is recommended to review your case with your lawyer to determine the best court of action for you.