What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
What keeps people from seeking fair compensation after they’re injured by someone else’s negligence? For many, it’s a fear of court and all the anxiety that court cases bring. However, this is usually an unnecessary worry. Ongoing research into personal injury claims shows that the majority do not end up going to trial.
If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s actions, don’t try to get fair compensation alone. Turn to an attorney who can fight on your behalf. Call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661 to schedule a consultation now.
Few Cases Go to Trial
No one wants to spend days at trial, so it’s no surprise that fear of a court case keeps many people from fighting for compensation. However, a very low percentage of personal injury cases ever reach the courtroom. Attorneys across the country report that, on average, 5% of their personal injury cases go to court. This is in line with Bureau of Justice Statistics reports. Reports across different jurisdictions indicate that between 3% and 5% of tort cases go to trial.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
To understand how and why so few personal injury cases go to court, you have to understand how personal injury claims work.
First, your attorney looks into your claim, investigates the accident, and determines whether or not you have a valid claim against the other party. If they do, they figure out how much compensation would be fair and pursue negotiations with the other party’s insurance company.
Negotiations happen outside the courtroom because both parties have a vested interest in avoiding court. Court is expensive and time-consuming, so a fair settlement is in the best interests of all involved. If your attorney and the other party come to a fair agreement, it’s a matter of signing the paperwork and receiving the compensation.
If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney moves on to filing a civil case against the other party and preparing for court. This means that the other party will have to prepare for court and appear for your case, which costs substantially more than settling. As a result, many cases that didn’t initially settle do eventually settle before the court date.
With the remaining cases that do go to court, both sides have a chance to argue the facts and make their case. The court decides whether or not the victim receives compensation and if so, how much.
Why This Matters
This is important because it substantially decreases the risk involved for accident victims. The financial risk is minimal. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis, which means that clients do not pay attorney fees unless the attorney secures them a settlement or court award.
The time risk is also low, since attorneys can generally figure out fairly quickly whether or not an insurance company is going to agree to a fair settlement or go all the way to court. Either way, the best chance at fair compensation comes with hiring an experienced personal injury attorney with strong negotiation skills.
Your Case Could Still Go to Trial
This is why you want an attorney with trial experience. Your personal injury claim could be one of the few that goes to trial. While the odds make this an unlikely outcome, if it happens to you, you don’t want your case to be the one where your lawyer starts building their trial experience. You’ll want an attorney who knows what to expect from the process, can coach you on possible outcomes, and present a convincing case to the court.
You Want the Insurance Company to Know Trial is an Option
Insurance companies are familiar with personal injury attorneys in your area, and they know which ones vehemently refuse to go to trial. When they have to negotiate with those lawyers, they know that there’s no real reason to offer any more than they absolutely must.
Even if they barely give anything, the attorney will encourage the client to settle just to avoid court. That’s not the reaction you want the insurance company to have when they see who you have retained for your case. You want them to know that your lawyer is ready and willing to go to court if the adjuster doesn’t negotiate in good faith. This can actually lead to a faster and better settlement for you.
It Leads to Better Case Preparation
An attorney that routinely prepares for trial knows what the standard of proof is and what hurdles they’ll have to overcome to secure a fair settlement for you. That is the level of effort they’ll put into your case—not the bare minimum needed to get a counteroffer from the insurance company.
Strangely enough, preparing for a claim as if it were going to trial can actually decrease the chances of a claim going to trial. Once the insurance company sees how the evidence is stacked against them, they may be more willing to offer a proper settlement to avoid having to go to court. Ultimately, this saves you time and stress.
Factors Affecting Your Claim
A number of factors may determine whether or not your case goes to trial, including:
- The strength of your case. If it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other party is liable for your injuries, the insurance company has a lot more motivation to make the whole claim go away by settling. If it is unclear whether or not the other party is liable, the insurance company may be more willing to take their chances in court.
- The insurance company’s willingness to settle. Some insurance companies are more aggressive than others. While some will fight tooth and nail for every penny, others take a different approach and are more willing to negotiate.
- How persuasive your attorney is. The right attorney will know when to push for more, when to ease up on the insurance company, and when to end negotiations and move for a court case. This is why it is important to choose an experienced attorney, not one who is going to test out their personal injury skills on you.
- The value of your case. The amount of money at stake has significant influence on the outcome of the claim.
Choose Mann & Potter for Your Personal Injury Case
A personal injury can leave you with physical pain, mental trauma, and stretched finances. Don’t add legal issues to your list of challenges. Trust the team at Mann & Potter instead. Set up a consultation now by contacting us online or giving us a call at 205-879-9661.
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