Do All Personal Injury Claims Go To Trial?

February 18, 2022 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Do All Personal Injury Claims Go To Trial?

Personal injury law is very broad — it encompasses many different areas, including accident liability, malpractice cases, premises liability, workplace injuries, and product liability, to name a few.

How do you know if you have a personal injury lawsuit?

You might have a valid personal injury claim if you have suffered damages due to one of the following types of accidents or injuries, among others:

  • A work injury, such as a burn, fall, or repetitive motion injury at your place of employment
  • An accident on the road, such as a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or commercial vehicle accident
  • An injury due to the negligent or wrongful treatment you received from a professional, such as a physician
  • An accident or injury suffered on the property of someone else, whether a home or business
  • An injury suffered as a result of using a product that ended up being dangerous or defective

At the heart of most personal injury cases is a claim for negligence, a type of tort liability that holds the wrongdoer responsible for causing the injuries of the victim. To prevail in a negligence claim, you will need to prove that the wrongdoer breached a duty of reasonable care, which directly and actually caused your personal injuries and damages.

What are the differences between a settlement and a verdict, and is one preferable over the other?

A jury verdict — which eventually becomes the court’s judgment — is a decision reached by the jury during litigation or in a court proceeding. It usually follows a full trial, where the parties present their evidence and witnesses, argue their claims in court, and the jury reaches its decision after it deliberates the claims involved.

A settlement, on the other hand, is usually reached by the parties voluntarily outside of court. It may be reached as a result of negotiations between the parties, or as a result of alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation.

Whether a settlement or a verdict is preferable is a question that depends largely on the specifics of your case. The vast majority of personal injury claims, however, settling the matter outside of court is advantageous, as it allows the parties to resolve their conflict in a more expedient, less costly manner. Trials tend to take longer, cost more, and require much more effort from everyone involved. Additionally, there are no guarantees when it comes to personal injury trial procedure: even if it looks highly likely that you will prevail in court, the jury may think otherwise. Rejecting a settlement offer you have in hand can be risky, as trials are inherently uncertain.

What are some reasons a personal injury claim might go to trial, and what factors can influence that decision?

Of course, it isn’t always advantageous to accept a settlement offer, particularly when the offer does not fairly and adequately represent the compensation you seek. Ultimately, the decision hinges upon the settlement amount being offered and the strength of your case. If your attorney believes your case is strong, and the amount offered is fair and just, they will likely encourage you to accept the settlement. Conversely, if the amount being offered is too low, and your attorney believes you have a strong chance of prevailing in court, they will likely encourage you to go to trial.

There are no hard-and-fast calculators that can predict settlement amounts during the personal injury claim process. There are many other factors that determine when it’s more prudent to go to trial. For example:

  • The facts of your case. The strength of your claim and the evidence you can present can make a big difference in determining whether to settle — whether the other party was completely at fault, for example, or whether you were partially at fault, meaning some of the liability will stay with you.
  • The complexity of the law involved. In some cases, it’s possible the insurer will not want to set a precedent by going through a full trial. In others, the law may be so complex that a jury of laypersons will not fully understand the extent of liability and damages. Complicated legal issues may make settlement more likely or less likely, depending on the parties’ competing claims.
  • Your injuries. The extent of the injuries you’ve suffered, the extent and cost of the medical treatment you will need, your rehabilitation expenses, your lost wages and earning capacity will all influence whether you should accept a settlement claim.
  • The likelihood that the jury will identify with your claims and your testimony. Whether your testimony and that of your witnesses will appear sympathetic to the jury can make a big difference in the decision to go to trial.
  • Jurisdictional and local considerations. Some states and local courts may be more or less amenable to satisfactory verdicts in personal injury claims, which may make a difference in the decision regarding the settlement.

How can the Francis Firm help?

When you retain a lawyer to represent you, your trial attorney looks at all the variables that impact your case. When determining your potential case value, we look at the severity of your injuries, what your damages are, ongoing treatment requirements, the permanent effects of your injuries, and what impact they have on your daily life. Contact our office today to learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your personal injury case.