Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Your lawyer will have to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, review your medical records, and conclude on how to best help you fight for your rights.

If you watch a lot of legal movies or shows, you may believe you know how your injury claim will play out. You think you’ll stand before a judge, swear on a Bible, tell the truth, and listen to a parade of witnesses give their testimonies.

The reality, however, is that most personal injury cases never go to trial. At goldsteinlaw.com, read how more than 95% of cases are settled before going to court. Still, your case may prove to be the exception to the rule. Keep reading to discover why some cases get to trial, and others don’t.

Most Insurance Companies Would Rather Avoid a Trial

In most personal injury cases, it is common for the victim to seek compensation from the insurance company of the party at fault. Insurance companies will try to pay as little as possible to save money.

When the injured party does not have legal representation, insurers try to pressure them into accepting a lowball offer, knowing they do not have the legal experience or skills to advocate for themselves properly.

In any case, the insurance company will try to avoid going to trial whenever possible for several reasons, such as:

Costs – Going to trial means calling upon expert witnesses, tracking down evidence, and facing expensive court costs. All these expenses are incurred without certainty regarding how the judge or jury will rule.

If an insurance company wants to minimize its costs and reduce its risk of exposure, it would instead go for a quick settlement than open itself to the possibility of a lengthy and expensive trial that may not end up in its favor.

They don’t like to be seen as the “bad guys” – If the case goes to trial, the plaintiff will come across as someone dealing with severe injuries while dealing with unscrupulous insurance companies. This image may elicit sympathy from the jury, costing the insurance company more in damages than what they feel comfortable paying out.

It can be harmful for their business – It is easy for anyone to look up an insurance company’s history of lawsuits and how much they had to pay. A settlement is a matter between both parties, and the result can be kept private, allowing the insurance company to safeguard its reputation. This may end up being costlier for the insurance company in economic terms and in the risk to their reputation than simply settling out of court.

What Are the Main Reasons Why Personal Injury Cases End Up Settling?

Personal injury cases tend to settle out of court because insurance companies are interested in protecting their reputation and do not want to risk paying out much more if a judge or jury orders them. They may also prefer to settle because:

  • They suspect that the personal injury lawsuit has strong arguments, which may make it likely to succeed in court
  • The settlement amount is such that it will turn out to be cheaper for them to settle than to spend money on attorney’s fees and court costs.
  • The amount they are offering the plaintiff to convince them to settle is equivalent to what they suspect would be the amount they would have to pay if they go to trial and lose.

Why Do Some Personal Injury Cases End Up In Court?

Some cases do make their way to trial. This may be because:

  • The personal injury attorney for the defendant has good reason to believe that their client will win the case and will not have to pay the plaintiff
  • The insurance company fears setting a precedent for settling the type of case at issue
  • The plaintiff’s attorney is demanding an amount that is too high
  • The plaintiff wants the defendant to be held accountable for their injuries. They may also hope that the judge or jury will award them punitive damages.

Are Any Factors That Influence Why Some Personal Injury Cases End in Court?

Attorneys for both parties examine several factors when determining whether it is more convenient for a case to settle or to go to trial. These might be:

  • How severe and extensive are the plaintiff’s injuries are
  • How much has the plaintiff accumulated in medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Whether the plaintiff has any income or earning capacity at the time
  • The family situation of the plaintiff and their age
  • How much has the plaintiff lost in wages, property damage, and other damages
  • Whether the plaintiff will come across as sympathetic to a judge or jury

How Can a Personal Injury Attorney Help?

From the moment you hire legal representation, your injury lawyer will want to know the details of your case to provide you with an estimate of its value.

This will serve as a starting point to determine if the amount the insurance company is offering you is fair, if there is any chance that the insurance company will provide more, or if going to court might be the best option to get you the compensation you deserve.

However, it is impossible to conclude that the path forward for all personal injury cases will be the same. There are always circumstances particular to the possibility that may weigh more heavily on the decision to settle or to go to trial.

Your lawyer will have to thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, review your medical records, and conclude how to best help you fight for your rights.

 

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