Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
You might be entitled to compensation if you’ve been injured in an accident in Texas. You can get money as long as you’re not primarily responsible for your injuries. There’s a legal process involved in getting you the money you deserve. Like most accident victims, you may want to know if this means that your case will go to trial. While going to trial is unlikely, it really depends on the circumstances of your case.
Are You Filing an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit?
You’ll probably be dealing with at least one insurance company after your car accident. Why? Insurance is the primary source of compensation for injuries and damages. This means that you’ll seek money in the form of insurance benefits. Your insurance policy may cover your damages, or you might have to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer.
Filing an insurance claim is not the same as filing a lawsuit. Rather, it’s a private matter in which the courts have no say. You submit a claim and ask to be compensated for all of your injuries. The insurer reviews that claim, considers your damages, and then makes a decision regarding its answer.
Few companies will simply agree to pay the amount of damages you’ve requested. Some will deny your claim altogether, while others will counter with a settlement offer based on their own calculations. This counteroffer will probably be for an amount that’s significantly less than you deserve.
You can go back and forth a few times with offers and counteroffers. At some point in time, however, the insurer will extend its final offer. They tell you to accept the offer or walk away with nothing. You have a couple of options at this point. You can appeal the decision, and go through the insurance company’s internal appeals process. This may or may not yield a better result. However, it will not require you to go to court.
If all else fails, you can file a civil personal injury lawsuit with your local court. When you file a lawsuit, there is a chance that your case could go to trial. However, this generally doesn’t happen.
Most Personal Injury Lawsuits Settle
More than 95 percent of all personal injury lawsuits are settled privately. If you file a lawsuit, there’s a very slim chance that it will go all the way to trial. This will only happen if you and the defendant in your case can’t reach a settlement.
The court will encourage you to do everything you can to settle your dispute privately. Many times, you’ll be required to exhaust all of your options before a judge will schedule a trial date. This usually means that you’ll have to enter mediation with the defendant. Mediation involves a neutral third party who tries to help both parties move toward a mutually-agreeable resolution to their dispute. The mediator doesn’t make any decisions, but simply facilitates discussions and tries to move them in the right direction.
Why Don’t Many Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
There are many reasons why most personal injury lawsuits settle before trial. This is because:
Cost: Going to trial is expensive. The longer a lawsuit goes on, the more expensive it becomes.
Risk: Going to trial can be risky; there’s no guarantee that you’ll win at trial.
Guaranteed Payout: A settlement assures that you’ll get at least some money for your injuries.
Time: Settlements can get money in your hands fast. Going to trial takes time. It could take months, or even years, to receive a financial award.
You need an attorney you can trust to guide you as you navigate your personal injury case. If you’re dissatisfied with the settlement offers you’ve received, you need an attorney with a track record of success in the courtroom. If your case does go to trial, you’ll want to be confident that your case is in experienced hands.