When you file a personal injury claim, your attorney will inform you whether your case will likely settle or go to trial. Around 95 percent of cases settle before trial. Settlement happens when the insurance company for the defendant, or a defendant, offers a reasonable amount for the damages in the case which makes the risk of getting something more at trial difficult to predict.
Settlement is quicker, less stressful, and less risky than going to trial. If your case goes to trial, it will take longer because your attorney will need to conduct thorough and extensive discovery, which takes time and money. Some case development expenses are recoverable if you win but most are not. The timing of when the case goes to trial also depends on the court’s calendar, not yours or your attorneys.
Sometimes, there may be so many cases ahead of yours that it may take over a year to obtain a trial date. Once you get to trial, every day can be stressful. When the evidence has all been presented, then you wait for a verdict, ever hopeful you will be a winner and the jury will see that you are fairly compensated.
Even if you are awarded the compensation due you, the other side may appeal, causing further delay. It may be a long time before you receive your monetary jury award. Even with all these drawbacks however, there are situations where your attorney will advise you that your case is the exception to the settlement percentages and that you should proceed to trial.
Reasons to Take Your Case to Trial
There are situations where taking your case to trial is better than accepting a settlement. These include the following:
- The defendant, or his or her insurance company, makes an unreasonably low settlement offer that does not come close to being fair.
- The insurance company consistently claims it will win the case on liability (who’s at fault?), so it makes no settlement offer at all.
- Your case is unusual based on the facts or the law, and either you or the insurance company wants to set a precedent by getting a jury verdict.
- Your attorney makes a demand higher than that for which the insurance company will settle without going to trial. This could be based on an inexperienced attorney or, part of the strategy you and your attorney have both decided on.
- As a matter of principle or public good, either side may choose to take the case to trial.
- Sometimes the family’s questions about what happened can only be determined if the case is fully litigated.
The personal injury lawyers at Springer & Lyle are experienced litigation attorneys who can advise you on whether pursing a settlement or going to trial is in your best interest. Their goal is to help you understand your case so that you can make informed decisions. Contact us at 940.387.0404 for a free consultation.