Hundreds of thousands of tort cases are filed in federal courts each year, including those related to personal injury. Each state may see thousands of their own lawsuits, but according to Statistic Brain Research Institute, only two percent of that number actually goes all the way to trial.
How is this decided? Once the lawsuit has been filed and both parties are fully aware of the impending proceedings, there are several factors that will determine how and when a personal injury case will go to trial.
Disadvantages to a Trial
As a citizen you have the right to take any civil dispute to court for a trial by jury. But a courtroom setting may not always be the best approach for your case.
- ● Cost. From filing fees to the cost of a court reporter, a trial can be quite a big expense, where expert witnesses alone may charge thousands of dollars to testify in court. Each cost is another amount that is pulled directly from any compensation that the jury awards to you.
- ● Time. After all the time spent in pre-trial planning and attempts at settlement, a trial presents a whole new time commitment of time and patience, often one that will get drawn out and postponed in overwhelmed courts.
- ● Risk. As long as you are in negotiations, you and your attorney still hold the power. You can agree or disagree to offers of your choosing, and hold out as long as you need to for a better number. Once you go to trial, it’s a gamble. It’s possible that you will receive more than the defense is offering, but it is also possible that you will be awarded nothing at all, if the jury is not convinced by your case.
Weigh the pros and cons as they apply to your case, and listen to your lawyer’s council when deciding whether or not to go to trial.
Alternatives to Trial
Before there is the trial, there stages of negotiation to try and resolve the case out of court.
- ● Settlement. Typically, both parties will attempt settlement talks early on, to see if they can reach an agreement between the them without involving others. This process may involve a back and forth of offers and counteroffers before anything close to resolutions achieved.
- ● Mediation. A third party, called a mediator, will step in at this stage to try to help both the plaintiff and the defense negotiate a resolution or settlement that is acceptable to both parties.
- ● Arbitration. An arbitrator is a third party decision maker who decides how the case should be resolved. If both sides are satisfied–however grudgingly so–then the case will end with that decision. If one or both sides are not happy, then they can appeal the arbitrator’s decision and the case will go to court.
If each preliminary attempt at resolution fails, the personal injury or accident case will be slated to appear in court.
Opting for a Trial
In many situations, it is actually better to allow your case to go to trial, in order to receive the most fair judgment, and to avoid unnecessarily prolonged delay tactics on the part of the defense. If you learn that the defendant is attempting to hide evidence or otherwise tilt the scales in their favor, a courtroom may be the best place for your case.
And if the defendant is refusing to agree to a fair settlement, or is persistent in denying liability, the it’s likely that no amount of mediation or arbitration will change that.
Seeking help for your own personal injury case? Contact the attorneys at Simon Law Group for experienced, customized legal counsel.]]>