Personal injury cases can be stressful, and you may be stressing about whether your own case will need to go to court to settle. Your choice between settling and going to court depends on the specifics of your case, and every case is unique. In this blog post, we’ll explore the personal injury claim process, the factors that can impact whether or not your case will go to trial, what you can expect if it does, and how an experienced personal injury lawyer like those at Great West Injury Law can help.
How Personal Injury Cases Typically Work
To understand the different stages of a personal injury case, let’s consider an example scenario. Imagine you are injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver. After seeking medical attention, you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The insurance company will probably conduct an investigation in order to determine who was at fault, and the extent of your damages.
If the insurance company agrees that their policyholder was at fault and that you suffered damages, they may make a settlement offer to compensate you. If the insurance company denies your claim, or if you fail to come to an agreement on your settlement, it may be time to file a lawsuit.
Once you file a lawsuit, the discovery process begins, where both parties exchange information and gather evidence. After discovery, the case may go to mediation or arbitration, which allows both parties to attempt to settle the case outside of court with the help of a neutral third party.
If the case is not settled during mediation or arbitration, the case will proceed to trial.
The Pros and Cons of Going to Trial
Proceeding to trial presents its own advantages and risks. It’s worth noting that the majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 5% of personal injury cases actually go to trial. Typically, both parties are interested in avoiding the hassle of a trial.
Still, it’s worthwhile to understand the pros and cons of going to trial in order to make the right decision for your own situation.
- Potential for a higher payout: One of the main reasons why people choose to go to trial is that there is a chance that they could receive a much larger verdict than what the insurance company is offering. If a case goes to trial, a jury may be more sympathetic to the plaintiff and award a higher amount of damages than the insurance company is willing to pay.
- Ability to hold the defendant accountable: Going to trial provides an opportunity to hold the defendant publicly accountable for their actions. A trial might make sure that they don’t act negligently and hurt others in the future.
- Greater sense of closure: For some people, going to trial can provide a greater sense of closure than settling out of court. They may feel that after they have had their day in court, justice has been served, even if the outcome is not in their favor.
- Risk of losing: One of the biggest risks of going to trial is that the plaintiff may lose the case and receive nothing. In some cases, the plaintiff may even be ordered to pay the defendant’s legal fees if they lose.
- Time and expense: Trials can be time-consuming and expensive. A trial can take months or even years to complete, and the costs associated with preparing for and presenting a case in court can be substantial (It is worth noting, however, that Great West Injury Law works on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we win your case).
- Stress: Going to trial, with all the expense and uncertainty, is a stressful endeavor. While your lawyer will do everything in their power to make it less stressful, it’s still worth considering the mental impact.
Overall, going to trial can potentially result in a higher payout and the ability to hold the defendant accountable, but it is also time consuming and has an uncertain outcome. These factors should be carefully weighed when deciding whether to settle out of court or pursue a trial in a personal injury case.
Either Way, Great West Injury Law Has Your Back
Whether your personal injury case goes to trial or not depends on the specifics: the strength of your case, the presence of eyewitnesses, the amount of compensation you’re asking for, and more.
While the experienced personal injury lawyers at Great West Injury Law will try to avoid a trial due to the risks outlined above, we’re also ready to go to trial if it’s the right move to get you the compensation you need. Stubborn insurance companies often refuse to offer proper compensation for your damages, and we know how to deal with them—both inside and outside of the courtroom.
Contact us today for a free consultation and to get started on your personal injury case.