Could Your Personal Injury Case Make it to Trial or be Settled Before?
This is one of the most common questions injury victims have when they meet with an attorney to discuss their claims. Injury victims often feel a lot of anxiety about the idea of having to go to court or testify in front of a jury.
What many injury victims do not know is that most cases are settled outside of the courtroom. If a case settles, then there is no need for a trial. Some cases do make it to court, but it is rare.
Below, learn more about why most personal injury cases are settled and never end up in court. We also discuss situations where a case may go to trial.
If you have legal questions after suffering a personal injury, the Minneapolis personal injury lawyers at TSR Injury Law are here to answer them. An initial consultation with a licensed attorney is free and there are no legal obligations.
Reasons Why Cases are Usually Settled
It is usually in the best interest of both parties to settle the case rather than going to trial. While the trial itself may only last a few days, there are numerous hurdles to clear before a trial can begin. That means trying to resolve a case with a jury trial is going to take much longer than settling the case.
Insurance companies routinely deny and try to underpay claims. However, if you are represented by a lawyer, you may have a much better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve. Settlement negotiations may take weeks or months, but attorneys are usually able to get the insurance company to make a reasonable offer. If your lawyer can get a fair offer from the insurance company, there is no reason to go to trial.
You Are Not Asking for a Large Amount of Compensation
The value of a case could also impact the chances of going to trial. For example, say you suffered a permanent injury with significant medical expenses and non-economic damages. The insurance company may make lowball offers hoping you will accept one. Settlement negotiations could drag on without an offer you or your attorney are willing to accept. This is a situation where you should seriously consider going to trial.
On the other hand, if it is clear to the insurer that your claim is valid, but you are not seeking an unusually large amount of damages, the insurance company is likely to settle. This is a much cheaper option for them than going to court.
You Have More Control Over Settlement Negotiations
One of the benefits of settlement negotiations is that you and your attorney are free to reject any offers. If you go to court, you must accept what the jury awards you. The downside of a jury verdict is that it carries no guarantee of winning. This means you could be awarded more than the insurance company offered, less, or nothing at all.
Settling is Usually Less Costly for Insurers
Insurance companies often prefer to settle because they could end up paying out a lot more compensation if the case goes to court. They also have no control over what a jury may decide to do.
How Long Could It Take to Reach a Settlement?
Each case is unique, but typically it takes 6-12 months to reach maximum medical improvement and be in a position to settle. You never want to settle and then discover more injuries. Some cases require immediate surgeries, and those situations can settle faster because the injury is known, fixed and understood by the parties.
Once a demand is sent, it may take about three to six months to negotiate a favorable settlement for a personal injury The insurance company needs to review the records, bills, expert reports, police investigations and all the other materials that go into a demand.
Reasons Cases Might go to Trial
Your case might go to trial if the insurance company does not make a settlement offer you are willing to accept. In some cases, they may deny the claim up front and offer no compensation. Filing a lawsuit may be the only way to get the insurance company to agree to negotiate a settlement.
It is important to note that filing a lawsuit does not always mean the insurance company will allow the case to go to trial. They may realize they do not have a good chance of a favorable outcome in a trial. Taking this step could get them to decide to make a better offer to the victim.
Insurers Are Confident in Their Case
Insurance companies usually have a lot of confidence in their case if they allow it to go to trial. They may feel confident that their evidence is strong enough to invalidate your claim when presented to a jury.
The Case Involves Significant Damages
The higher the value of a case, the more likely it is to go to trial. Insurance companies do not want to pay out compensation, particularly if it could be a large amount. Even if you have a strong case, the insurance company will look for some way to underpay your claim. They may stick to a lowball offer, even after your attorney files a lawsuit.
Insurers Are Playing Hardball
There are times when the insurance company does not have a strong case but decides to go to trial anyway. There is really no hard and fast way to know how an insurance company may respond. That is why it is vital to have an experienced attorney handling your claim. One factor insurance companies evaluate is who is your lawyer or law firm. Does the Firm have a reputation of folding or will they try a case? If they think your lawyer will fold because of past actions, they will never pay the full amount owed.
How Long Could a Trial Take?
It could take a year or longer to reach the point where your attorney makes a closing argument and the jury deliberates on your case. There are many steps that precede a jury trial, not to mention the time your attorney may spend negotiating before a lawsuit is filed.
Why You Need an Attorney Who is Prepared to go to Court
Insurance companies are always looking for reasons to deny or underpay claims. If you have no attorney representing you, particularly one with courtroom experience, a lowball settlement offer is more likely. If an insurance company believes there is little chance a case could go to court, there is less incentive for them to make a better offer.
Your goal when seeking compensation is to recover all the compensation you need to help you and your family move forward. If your lawyer is not prepared to go to court, that goal could be much more difficult to accomplish.
At TSR, we are often able to settle claims without the need to go to court. However, we are always prepared if the insurance company denies or undervalues a claim.
Need Legal Help After a Personal Injury? Call TSR
For more than 25 years, TSR Injury Law has been securing compensation for personal injury victims. We are prepared to manage the legal process on behalf of our clients, at no upfront cost. We do not get paid for representing you unless you receive compensation.
Give us a call today. We are ready to help you seek the compensation you need and hold liable parties accountable for your damages.
TSR Injury Law. Experienced Attorneys. Proven Results. (612) TSR-TIME