Why Would Your Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

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If you’ve been injured in a car collision or any other type of accident that may have occurred due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to receive compensation with a claim.

There are two methods of seeking compensation; through a settlement agreement or as an award from a trial. While the former is the most common method of compensation, the latter is rare and time-consuming but has its upsides.

We’ll provide a breakdown of what you need to know about compensation through a trial and how an attorney at Stevenson Klotz can help you.

How Often Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Go to Trial?

Research suggests that approximately 5% of annual personal injury claims make their way to the trial stage. Approximately 95% of personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court.

Although the unpredictability of a trial poses significant risks of not getting any compensation at all, a trial has the potential to significantly increase the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to recover. A trial offers the victim a chance to recover punitive damages, which may contribute to an increase in the amount of compensation.

The bottom line is that a personal injury trial is a high-risk endeavor, but it can be a highly rewarding proposition if you succeed.

What Factors Influence Whether a Case Settles or Goes to Court?

Your attorney can examine multiple factors affecting your likelihood of success at trial or as a settlement.

The following critical factors influence the decision to either settle or proceed with a trial:

  • Your extent of injuries
  • Your age
  • Your income and earning capacity
  • Your medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Your family’s situation
  • Whether you will appear sympathetic to a judge or jury
  • Whether you suffered lost wages or any other form of damages.

Why Might an Insurance Claim Not Settle Out of Court?

Many insurance companies will try to secure a settlement out of court. Often, this occurs when the insurance companies believe that the plaintiff’s personal injury case is likely to be successful in court.

The decision to settle may also be made if the insurance company believes the settlement offered to the plaintiff is comparable to what the plaintiff would receive if they win at trial.

Note that insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. Instead, they are out to maximize their profit by reducing the amount of compensation that you may be entitled to receive.

That said, various circumstances may suggest that a trial is the best way to go. Your attorney or insurance company may decide to go to trial when they feel there are compelling reasons to do so.

While various circumstances can suggest a trial is the best way to go, some of the reasons to proceed include:

  • If the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t want to set a precedent for settling the type of case at issue.
  • If the amount demanded by the plaintiff’s attorney is too high.
  • If the defendant’s personal injury attorney thinks the defendant is likely to win the case.
  • If the plaintiff wishes to hold the defendant publicly accountable for their injuries.

Are There Any Pros or Cons in Having a Case Go to Court?

“To settle or not to settle” is a question that most claimants grapple with. Sometimes, the insurance company’s final offer may be too low, and you’re better off going to court. However, in other cases, a trial might seem too risky, and the insurance company’s final offer might seem reasonable.

For this reason, it is imperative to have a personal injury lawyer by your side. An attorney may help negotiate for more when the insurance company has offered a fair amount, or they may insist on taking the case to court if there’s a likelihood of success.

A trial has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of going to court

There are various advantages of having a case go to court. Some of these advantages include:

  • You stand to gain more money in terms of pain and suffering and, potentially, punitive damages.
  • You stand to hold the at-fault party responsible, and there is a stronger sense of justice.

Disadvantages of going to court

A trial also comes with its fair share of disadvantages. Some of these disadvantages include:

  • It can be time-consuming and potentially cost you more in terms of costs.
  • You are not the decision-maker.
  • You risk walking away with nothing if the court doesn’t find it in your favor.

What Should You Expect If You Bring a Case to Court?

If your case proceeds to trial, there are several stages it will have to undergo. These stages include:

  • Pre-trial conference: This is a meeting between all the parties involved in the case. The aim is to clarify and simplify matters before the trial begins. For instance, the parties may agree on the deadlines for making all their submissions and, simultaneously, may identify all evidence and witnesses to help the trial proceed seamlessly.
  • Jury selection: Oftentimes, the case will be tried by a jury. As such, your attorney will be highly involved in the jury selection process and will attempt to select impartial jurors and the ones who will give you the best chance of winning your case.
  • Opening statements: After the jury selection process, the trial begins with both attorneys’ opening statement(s). Here, your attorney will present the facts to the jury and attempt to demonstrate how the defendant was negligent.
  • Presenting evidence: In this stage, both attorneys will present evidence to support their claims. Your attorney will provide compelling evidence to persuade the jury of the defendant’s liability. What’s more, the attorney has a chance to present expert witnesses who will support your claim and, at the same time, examine or cross-examine the witnesses.
  • Closing Arguments: This is a summary of the arguments made by the parties and will be made as a final attempt to convince the jury.
  • Final Instructions: The judge will give final instructions to the jury, who will then deliberate and come to a verdict.

Noteworthy is that at any point in the process, a settlement can be reached, and the trial can be dismissed. Moreover, parties can file an appeal and try to get the verdict reversed.

Injured? Contact Stevenson Klotz!

If you or your loved one sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence, act promptly to safeguard your rights and interests.

You need a competent and qualified attorney to help you. Our attorneys at Stevenson Klotz have experience handling personal injury claims in Florida and Alabama and understands what it takes to succeed in a claim process.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Florida and Alabama?

The statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Florida is four years, while in Alabama it is two years.

How long does it take to settle a personal injury case in Florida or Alabama?

There’s no specific answer to this question because each case is unique. However, a settlement may take approximately six weeks for the insurance company to investigate a claim and present an offer.

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