You have the right to take your personal injury lawsuit to court if necessary. However, the truth is that the vast majority of lawsuits do not go to trial. Instead, they are settled out of court or through alternative dispute resolution, including mediation or arbitration. In fact, many cases are resolved even before a lawsuit is filed. Roughly 80 to 90 percent of all injury cases are settled before going to trial.
Generally, a case will only go to trial if the parties have been unable to settle their disputes informally or if the victim thinks that going to trial is in their best interest. Sometimes in an injury lawsuit, the victim wants others to know what has happened by going to trial so that future accidents can be avoided.
Deciding Whether to Go to Court
If you are unable or unwilling to settle, you need to decide whether you want to present your case in front of a judge or jury in court. Taking a case to trial is time-consuming and can be emotionally draining, depending on the type of injury. Victims should carefully consider these aspects before deciding to go to trial. Your personal injury attorney can help you with this decision.
Why Most Cases Do Not Go to Trial
The specific reason that the case does not go to trial will vary depending on the facts and the people involved. There are a few common reasons, however, that many cases do not make it to trial.
- The risk of a negative result. No matter how strong your case, there is always a risk of losing. If a party rejects a settlement offer and continues to court, they risk walking away with nothing at all. This risk can be intimidating for many victims who often need the compensation to help with medical bills and lost wages.
- Delayed compensation. Going to trial takes time. It can take years to get a case fully prepared to go to trial. Victims often cannot wait this long to receive compensation. They may take a settlement offer simply because it gives them faster payment to deal with everyday issues like paying utility bills.
- The cost of litigation. Litigation costs can be very expensive, particularly for defendants. Plaintiffs who are not on a contingency fee basis must also deal with a potentially high cost of going to trial.
- A chance to appeal. If a case settles out of court, there are no appeal This is attractive to many defendants because it means when the settlement has been finalized the case is over. The same cannot be said if the case goes to a full trial. Victims have appeal rights if they lose at the trial level, which can be expensive and draw out the conclusion of the case.
You have to weigh the pros and cons of going to trial for each individual injury lawsuit. Perhaps you do not want to go through the emotional strain of having to recount your story in front of a jury, or the time and effort for a trial may seem like too much. A personal injury attorney will be able to help you with this type of decision.