Experienced personal injury lawyers know the circumstances that determine whether a favorable settlement can be agreed upon without stepping foot in a courtroom. However, if a personal injury lawyer feels that the insurer or other party is refusing to accept certain aspects of the claim by raising unreasonable defenses which may work in your favor, he or she can initiate court proceedings. Experienced personal injury attorneys know how to prepare extensively for a claim case by demonstrating how likely you are to get a favorable court verdict. Such preparations will act as an incentive to compel the other party to a settlement agreement without spending a lot of time on the case.
Personal injury claims can be processed in a pre-lawsuit filing stage, post-lawsuit filing stage or in a trial. Therefore, your attorney will discuss the circumstances surrounding your case and advise you accordingly on whether to settle before filing a lawsuit or going to trial depending on the nature of your personal injury case.
Do you have to go to court?
You should discuss and make extensive deliberations with your attorney before deciding on whether to settle a claim or go to court. Although the decision on whether to involve the courts on a personal injury claim lies in the hands of the plaintiff, it’s wise to retain a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling similar cases.
The biggest determinant of whether a claim case should go to court or not is the nature of the offer from the other party’s lawyer or carrier. If the defendant offers to increase the offer, depending on the validity of your attorney’s arguments, it’s wise to settle without involving the courts. This is a sensible approach, especially when the offer meets all or most of the plaintiff’s claim demands. Sometimes skilled personal injury attorneys prefer to involve the courts when the defendant and the plaintiff cannot see eye-to-eye on the value of a claim so as to get leverage in negotiations. A huge percentage of personal injury cases never make it to the trial phase because it’s easy to reach a settlement.
Why most plaintiffs never go to court
Here are some of the reasons why most personal injury cases are solved without going to court:
Urgency for the settlement money
When you sustain an injury, chances are that you won’t be able to perform your day-to-day activities, and thus it may be difficult to provide for you and your family. Most injured people in personal injury cases prefer settling even for small amounts of money instead of waiting for huge compensations resulting from a verdict issued after long, complex, and tiring court proceedings. In most cases, claimants prefer to get a quicker payment to pay for medical bills, compensate for lost wages, and cater for other expenses.
The risk of losing
Going to trial can be very risky for both parties involved in the claim case. If the plaintiff losses, he or she will walk away with nothing, and still pay for the attorney’s fee regardless of whether the attorney charges on a contingency basis or not. On the flip side, the jury may decide to award the plaintiff an amount of money that is even double of what he or she had demanded.
It’s not easy to predict a court verdict or the amount of money to be awarded by the plaintiff when a claim case has gone to court. It’s only wise to explore the idea of settling without involving the courts. Furthermore, the litigation costs for pursuing a trial can be very expensive for both sides.
The appeal opportunity
When both parties agree to settle a claim case without involving the courts they sign a contract that guarantees payment and closure of the case. That means that no party shall decide to pursue the matter further after it has been settled. However, in a trial process, the successful party has to undergo long and complex appeal procedures before the matter can finally be put to rest and the damages paid to the plaintiff or having the case dismissed. That is why you need to contact established personal injury attorneys who can prepare a case extensively in order to convince the defendant’s negotiators or lawyers to settle before the case goes to the trial phase.
When is trial necessary?
Sometimes it can prove difficult to solve a claim case without seeking the indulgence of the courts. In situations where liability is clearly defined, all damages documented appropriately, and with a history of relevant jury verdicts yet the defendant doesn’t want to give a reasonable offer, you should consider going to trial. A good personal injury attorney can help you in weighing all these circumstances in order to make an informed decision.