Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
Most personal injury claims occur after an automobile crash. Negligence occurs when another driver failed to follow a driving rule or law and caused a crash with you or your property. If this is the case, you can file a personal injury claim to recover any losses you endure, such as loss of pay, medical bills, and damages to your vehicle or property. Other examples of personal injury include malpractice cases or a mistaken arrest.
You’re wondering if your personal injury case will go to trial. You could be worried about missing work for the trial. You might be an introvert and not relish the idea of being up on the stand. There are no guarantees, but the odds are in your favor if you don’t want to go to trial.
It could be the opposite situation and you want to go to trial. That is a possibility, but you need to understand the odds of winning your case.
A high percentage of personal injury cases never go to trial. In most cases, the person you’re suing decides to settle out of court. This means you drop the lawsuit and they give you a sum of money.
Approximately every 5 out of 100 personal injury cases ever go to trial. Some find it beneficial to reach a settlement. Trials can last days or weeks. There’s the time needed to prepare for court. Lawyers need time to identify witnesses and gather evidence. Depositions may be needed before the trial can begin. At this point, discussions begin in order to decide if the case can be settled out of court.
If negotiations or mediation fail, the case goes to trial. There are opening statements, witness questioning sessions, presentation of the evidence, and closing statements. Jury members may need to discuss and make their decision if it’s a jury trial. Finally, there’s the judge’s decision.
Pros and Cons of Trials
There are pros and cons to any trial. You need to carefully weigh them when deciding if you want your case to go to trial. It’s usually advisable to reach a settlement before the trial if at all possible. The settlement may not be as high as if you go to court, but you get the money sooner than you would with a trial. Plus, it’s easier to keep the lawsuit private if it doesn’t go to court.
Clearly, one of the biggest factors with a trial is the time it can take. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the median processing times from filing to the final decision is about 14 months. The longest case the bureau found lasted more than 14 years.
Some cases last a day or two, others go on for weeks. Personal injury trials are subject to a judge’s schedule. It’s not unheard of for a personal injury trial to get postponed for more pressing cases. This can lengthen the amount of time a personal injury trial takes. That time can cost you more in lost wages and legal fees in certain cases. If you don’t win the case, you could be out a lot of money.
The outcome is another factor. In the Bureau of Justice report, only 5 out of 10 personal injury cases ended up with the plaintiff winning the case. It’s a 50/50 chance of winning, and that can be a bit alarming.
What You Need to Do If You Want to Go to Trial
You might want to go to trial. You want the highest amount of compensation for your injuries. That’s understandable. If you do want to to go trial, make sure you have as much evidence in your favor as is possible.
The information you collect will depend on your situation. If you were in a crash and the other driver is to blame, get copies of the accident report, photos, video footage, witness names and statements, hospital bills, estimates for vehicle repairs or replacement, and any bills related to your medical expenses. Get letters from your company detailing wages lost and time off work.
If your personal injury case is related to medical malpractice or prescription errors, provide copies of medical bills and paperwork related to pain and suffering you experienced due to someone’s error. Get letters from the doctors you saw who diagnosed what happened and what they had to do to repair damage or do to get you healthy again.
You need to work with a trial attorney to make sure you have all of the proof you need. Don’t try to do this on your own. With an average of half of all trial cases finding in the defendant’s favor, you need an experienced attorney working for you.
Get Expert Advice From a 24-Hour Legal Team
It’s ultimately your decision whether a case goes to trial or not. A settlement offer can be made, but you have the final say if you want to accept that offer.
Talk to a lawyer and carefully weigh the pros and cons of a personal injury case. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman, and Rowley now and talk about your case. Let our team of attorneys discuss your options and secure the best possible outcome. We’re here for your convenience, so call or send a chat message 24/7.
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