If you are involved in a personal injury case, you might be wondering how often a case has to go to trial. Since the trial process is not only much longer but can require a whole lot of resources and energy, taking a settlement may sound preferable to escalating the case to court. The reality is that it is usually better to come to a settlement agreement so that a case doesn’t have to go to trial – but settling isn’t always in the best interests of the person who was injured. This means there are times when bringing the case in front of a judge and jury is necessary.
Statistics show that as many as 95% of all personal injury claims are settled before they go to trial. In fact, an insurance company’s worst nightmare is to be tied up in court, although you would never get that impression from the tactics that they use to coerce people to take a settlement offer. Many people who are involved in a personal injury suit assume that the insurance company has an obligation to compensate a victim for what they are entitled to, but that is an incredibly costly (and inaccurate) assumption to make.
Like any other business, the main objective that any insurance company has is to limit their costs. They do that by trying to reduce the compensation that they pay to people who are injured. If you assume that your insurance company has an obligation to give you a fair settlement because you have paid your insurance premiums, then that naivete can really end up hurting you. If you are afraid that your case will have to go to trial, rest assured that the insurance company is more afraid than you.
The good news about going to trial
The good news is that if your case does have to go to trial, that cost is not on you. Even on the chance you don’t proceed to trial, it is imperative that you hire a personal injury firm to negotiate. Even if you take a settlement, if you don’t know how much you are entitled to in the first place, then you are almost guaranteed to get less than you deserve. Only a personal injury lawyer can ascertain what you should get in a settlement, and without their help, you won’t get what you should.
The first offer that an insurance company makes is never all that they will give you. Their offer is almost always open for negotiation, but if you don’t have someone on your side who knows how to negotiate and is aware of an insurance company’s tactics, then you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Personal injury lawyers work on what’s called a “contingency basis.” That means that they don’t get paid unless they are able to get you the compensation that you deserve, so there is no financial drawback to hiring one. If they can’t recover for your damages and injuries, then they don’t get anything. Whether the case goes to trial or not, you need an attorney to help guide you through the process.
In personal injury suits, you are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. That means that you can recover both for your medical bills and lost wages, as well as your emotional distress and pain and suffering. If you don’t know how to calculate what your injuries are worth, how are you to know that what the insurance company is offering you in a settlement is what you deserve?
If you are concerned about taking a personal injury case to court, or that it will have to be escalated to court, you shouldn’t be. If you hire a personal injury lawyer, those are both things that they have to worry about. Your job should be to get better and heal. Turn the other logistics over to your lawyer and let them fight with the insurance company to get you what you deserve. Whether they can do it through the settlement phase or if it has to go to court should make no difference to you.