As common as personal injury cases are, very few go to trial. If your lawyer tells you that your best option is a court trial with a judge or jury, it’s a wise idea to heed their recommendation. Still, you might wonder why your personal injury case is going to trial instead of settling out of court.
Read on for potential answers to this important question and more. Alternatively, you can contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers’ knowledgeable team of attorneys at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation, case evaluation, and/or more information.
What Is a Court Trial?
A court trial is an official legal process in which two (2) sides in a dispute – the plaintiff (civil) or prosecution (criminal), and the defendant (civil/criminal) – present evidence to a judge or jury. After the evidence is presented and arguments are made, the judge or jury will render a verdict, oftentimes ruling on punishments, damages or settlement amounts, and more.
Court trials are only one potential outcome of a personal injury lawsuit. Those in a legal dispute can also choose to settle out of court. By settling, the parties will have come to a resolution, financial or otherwise, without involving an official verdict or ruling from a judge or jury.
Worth noting here is that court trials often take many months to finish. As well, more complex trials (or those with high stakes) can take years to conclude.
Why Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
Personal injury lawsuits might go to trial for any number of important reasons, including but not limited to: personal preference, the advice of your lawyers, and other factors.
You Need Additional Damages
For example, if you need more damages than what an insurance company or defendant offers in response to your claim, you can take them to court. Ideally, the judge or jury will rule in your favor, resulting in a higher damage award or compensation amount than you would have received otherwise.
This may be a wise idea if the defendant in a case deliberately offers you a lowball settlement amount because they think you won’t take them to court. For instance, suppose you’re injured in an auto accident. When you press for damages, the defendant’s insurance company offers you barely any money, assuming you will let the matter rest. If your lawyers recommend pushing forward, you could take them to court and recover much more money to pay for your medical bills and other associated costs.
You Have a Good Chance of Winning
If your case has a reasonable chance of securing a successful verdict, it may be a good idea to go to court.
To determine whether you have a good chance of winning your case, your legal team will make an assessment of the evidence gathered. If the evidence is in your favor, they may recommend going to court. This is because you will likely stand a better chance of recovering extra damages than losing money.
Most often this occurs in relatively cut-and-dried cases in which there’s ample evidence in the plaintiff’s favor, or if the plaintiff’s lawyers believe that the defense doesn’t have much chance to turn things around.
Alternatively, you may wish to take a defending party to court on principle alone. For instance, if you were grievously injured because of medical malpractice on the part of a negligent medical professional, you may wish to take them to court just to make a statement.
Many lawyers will recommend against this basis for action; however, there are some exceptions. Call Schwartzapfel Lawyers at 1-516-342-2200 to speak with a member of our team about going to court, settling, arbitrating, mediating, negotiating, and more now.
Why Do Personal Injury Cases Settle Out of Court?
Personal injury cases may also settle out of court due to personal, professional, and/or specific circumstances relating to your case. Additionally, your lawyers may recommend settling to protect you (e.g., for client health reasons).
Regardless of how clear-cut a case might seem, most court trials cost substantial time and money. Even if you work with lawyers on a contingency fee basis, completing the legal process from start to finish could eat into your eventual monetary award due to mounting legal costs (e.g., court fees). Schwartzapfel Lawyers works on contingency, so you won’t ever pay us a penny until we first recover compensation for you.
Note: In some personal injury cases, you may walk away with more money by settling out of court than if you were to take the matter to trial.
The same principle holds true for time. As court cases can take many months or years to resolve, to avoid havingi a legal dispute hanging over you all that time, settling out of court could be a wise alternative.
Should you receive a settlement offer, your attorneys may advise that you settle out of court if there isn’t enough evidence to secure a victory before a judge or jury. Remember: In a personal injury case, the onus is on the plaintiff to prove the guilt or negligence of the defending party.
Should your lawyers believe that the evidence is not convincingly in your favor, if offered, they will likely recommend that you accept the settlement offer. Why? Because doing so can save you both time and money while avoiding the possibility of losing the case, which could cost you even more in the long run.
As noted, court trials for personal injuries take time to resolve. That could mean several months, or, in more complicated suits, years. That said, if you or a loved one has been injured and are wanting to get on with your life, you could settle the dispute out of court to resolve the matter more quickly.
Note: In many personal injury cases, the defendant(s) also wants the matter resolved sooner than later, which is part of the reason why most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court.
Do Most Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
No, most personal injury cases do not go to trial. In fact, 97% of all personal injury cases are settled out of court. Of the remaining 3%, 2% are ruled on by juries and 1% by judges.
Many personal injury cases don’t go to trial for the above-mentioned reasons. Generally, court trials are costly, time-consuming, and don’t produce effective enough resolutions to warrant their undertaking.
That said, your personal injury case might be among the minority. To see if this is the case, call Schwartzapfel Lawyers today at 1-516-342-2200.
Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
This will depend on the specifics of your legal case and the circumstances surrounding your injuries.
Certain injuries come with ample evidence that can be used to prove the negligence and/or malicious intent of another party. For instance, in a medical malpractice case, you might have clear-cut evidence from medical notes, eyewitness accounts, and opinions from medical professionals that your healthcare provider acted negligently.
However, in an auto accident where both you and the other driver were partially at fault, it might be smarter to settle out of court. Otherwise, you may end up feeling the effects of the pure comparative negligence rule. This rule states that if you are partially at fault for your injuries, your damages may be reduced by a percentage amount or vice versa.
Your personal injury case could go either way. If you already have legal professionals working for you, consult with them to learn more about the chances of going to court. If you don’t, consider speaking with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers personal injury attorney by dialing 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.
How Your Legal Team Affects Trial Chance
A good legal team can seriously increase your trial’s chances of victory, as well as determine whether your personal injury case goes to trial at all.
The mark of a good personal injury attorney is honesty. They won’t try to push your case to court just to pad their resume or reputation. Instead, they’ll be frank with you about your case’s chances of success, the evidence they’ve gathered so far, and whether or not you are likely to get damages significantly higher than what you are offered via settlement.
You should hire knowledgeable personal injury attorneys because:
- They can offer honest, sound legal counsel from start to finish
- They can help you determine whether going to trial or accepting a settlement is a wise choice
- They can gather evidence on your behalf, which can be beneficial both during a court trial and in the lead-up to one
- They can negotiate with insurance companies, the other side’s attorneys, and other involved parties
Remember: If you hire Schwartzapfel Lawyers, you won’t have to worry about paying for legal representation. Thanks to our contingency fee basis, you only have to pay us if we recover damages for you through court or settlement proceeding(s). Contact us now for a free case evaluation and/or more information at 1-516-342-2200.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today
Most personal injury cases don’t go to trial. Instead, they settle out of court, minimizing the costs and time requirements for everyone involved.
But in some instances, it might be wiser for you to bring your case to trial so you can receive a verdict from a judge or jury. If your lawyers tell you that a trial is your best bet to recover damages, listen to them, especially if you hire Schwartzapfel Lawyers.
Why wait? Your window to file a claim and recover damages may soon close. Don’t risk it. Your financial future is too important.
Instead, dial 1-516-342-2200 and fill us in on your situation. It will be our honor and privilege to fight – and win – for you!