Do all Personal Injury Cases Have to Go to Trial?
Not all personal injury cases have to go to trial to be resolved. In fact, over 90 percent of claims settle before reaching the courtroom.
Reasons Why Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial
There are a couple of reasons why a personal injury case may need to go to trial. Those include the following:
The Insurance Company Denies Liability
If the at-fault party’s insurance company disputes liability and denies your claim, you may have to take the case to trial to recover compensation. However, insurance companies typically only deny claims when they believe the evidence is on their side and they can win in court.
The Insurance Company Refuses Fair Settlement
If an insurance company refuses to negotiate its settlement offer, your attorney may advise you to pursue your case in court. However, filing a lawsuit can be enough pressure for the insurer to begin negotiations again and settle before you reach the courtroom.
The At-Fault Party is Uninsured
If the at-fault party does not carry liability insurance, your only option may be to sue them personally for compensation. However, it may be a waste of time and money if the at-fault party does not have the financial means to cover your losses. Therefore, your attorney can help you determine the best course of action and whether any other parties can be held liable.
Other examples of factors that can influence whether a case settles or goes to trial can include:
- The extent of your injuries and medical expenses
- The amount of lost income and whether you are able to return to work.
- Whether you experienced property damage and other accident-related losses.
- Your family situation
- Your age
- Whether you will appear sympathetic to a judge or jury
- Your degree of fault in causing your injuries.
Pros and Cons of Settling a Case vs. Trial
Here are the pros of reaching a settlement versus going to trial:
- Less Time: Receiving compensation will typically take much less time when you settle.
- Guaranteed Award: You are guaranteed money when you settle.
- Less Stress: Preparing for and trying a case in a courtroom can be very stressful.
- Confidentiality: Details of a settlement can remain confidential.
- Not as Expensive: Settling a car accident case is significantly less expensive than preparing for and going to trial.
- Juries are Unpredictable: There is no way to know whether you will win in court and how much compensation a jury will award you.
Here are the potential pros of your case going to trial:
- Higher Award: If your injuries are severe and losses extensive, you may recover a much higher award at trial than the insurance company is willing to settle for.
- Sense of Justice: When you win in court and see the at-fault party lose publicly, you get a better sense that justice was served.
- Avoid Regret: After accepting a settlement offer, you may regret not knowing whether you could have recovered a higher award at trial.
In general, reaching a settlement agreement in a personal injury case is in your best interests as long as the compensation is fair. However, it is critical to consult a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer first to avoid settling for less compensation than you deserve.