According to the US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, merely 4% to 5% of the personal injury cases in the country go in front of a jury. This means that roughly 95% of cases are resolved out of court.
If you have filed a personal injury case, the court will usually encourage you to settle your dispute privately before you consider going to the trial. You might be required to exhaust all of the other options first before the judge schedules a trial date.
In some cases, going to a trial might be the best option. But the only way to know for sure is to talk with an experienced attorney first because each case is unique. If your attorney is sure that you can receive a fair settlement for your injuries without going to a trial, there is no reason for you to not settle outside of court.
However, if the insurance company is refusing to give you what you deserve, and your attorney thinks that you have a solid case, going to trial might be your only option.
Settling a Personal Injury Claim Out of Court vs. Going to Trial
Many people prefer settling civil lawsuits out of court because going through the legal motions of a trial is expensive, time-consuming, unpredictable, and extremely stressful for both parties.
But if you are working with a seasoned personal injury attorney who is genuinely committed to achieving the best results for you, they wouldn’t hesitate to take your case to court. Especially if they feel the insurance company is trying to shortchange you.
When considering whether to take your personal injury case to court, think about the following factors:
The Settlement Offer
This is the biggest factor you need to take into account. Has the insurance company made you a reasonable offer? Is your attorney advising you to take it? If yes, then you’d probably be better off settling out of court.
Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely make fair offers until an experienced attorney gets involved. This is why it’s crucial to choose a lawyer who will let the insurance company know that they are willing to take your case all the way to a jury if necessary.
Most personal injury law firms work on a contingency fee basis. It means that you (the plaintiff) do not need to pay any legal fees unless your attorney recovers damages on your behalf. Once you receive compensation, your attorney will take their fees out of it from the insurance company.
Work and Family
You might already have a lot on your plate with work and family responsibilities. Getting tied up in a court trial can sometimes aggravate household tensions or work-related issues. Make sure you are 100% sure that your work and family situation is sorted before you move forward with litigation.
Stress and Anxiety
Going to trial to fight your battles can be an emotionally draining experience, especially if you are recovering from injuries. If it seems too much to handle, don’t hesitate to talk to your attorney about it. A capable attorney should be able to get you the best possible settlement without having to go to trial.
Is your personal injury attorney reasonably confident in their ability to achieve a positive outcome at trial? Remember, a court trial will take a lot out of you as well as your family. If you don’t think you have a strong chance to win the lawsuit, talk to your attorney about getting the best possible settlement.
Keep in mind that even if you decide to go to trial, it is possible that the other party may still come around and offer you a fair settlement out of court. Settling a lawsuit “on the courthouse steps” or right before the trial is about to begin is more common than you think.
How Long does it Take to Receive a Settlement Offer?
It will depend on your attorney. Once you have found an experienced and dedicated attorney to represent you, they will start building your case right away. Since the settlement process includes gathering evidence related to the case, the sooner they begin, the faster you’ll be able to get a fair offer.
Your attorney will first review the incident report, obtain video evidence of your injury (if available), gather witness testimonies (if any), collect your medical bills and interview your doctors. The key is to document every single aspect of your case and then start negotiating with the insurance company.
Depending on how strong your evidence is and how much your claim is worth, a fair settlement offer could be made within a couple months. But every case is different, so the time it takes to settle can vary widely as well.
Get the Compensation You Deserve: Talk to a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today
At Olmstead & Olmstead, our attorneys are committed to effectively protecting your rights and fighting for your best interests. We have extensive experience with all kinds of personal injury claims, from medical malpractice to car accidents.
During your free, no-obligation consultation, we will go over the likelihood of your case settling out of court or going to trial. We have decades of litigation experience and can provide you the edge you need if your case goes to trial. To schedule you free consultation, call us today at (703) 361-1555.