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Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

If you were recently injured in some type of an accident, whether it was a car accident, something that occurred on someone else’s property, an injury caused by a negligent medical doctor, or something else, you may be wondering, “If I file a claim, will my case go to trial?” This is a common question indeed and we’ll answer it in this post.

What is a Settlement, Exactly?

With a settlement, usually the defendant’s insurer, or the defendant themselves (if they have money) offers the plaintiff a certain amount of money – this is called a settlement offer. If the plaintiff accepts the offer, they have to agree not to sue the defendant any further and not to seek more damages in the future.

To understand the claims process, it’s important to understand settlements, what they are, and how they work. Simply put, a settlement occurs when an insurance company or a defendant (the at-fault party) makes an offer to the plaintiff (the injured party) and he or she accepts it.

Here is some information on settlements:

  • Settlements are often reached before a lawsuit is ever even filed; however, a settlement can be reached at any time during a trial as long as it’s before the jury issues a final verdict.
  • Sometimes, settlements are made while the jury is deliberating. This typically happens when the defendant is nervous about the jury’s forthcoming decision.
  • Once the plaintiff accepts a settlement offer, he or she signs a full liability release, which waives their right to all potential claims against the defendant arising out of the accident at issue.
  • In almost all cases involving insurance companies, a settlement is offered by the liable party’s insurance carrier providing they take responsibility.

While personal injury cases can settle out of court or go to trial, by far the majority of them settle outside of court. In fact, over 90% of personal injury cases settle. Why is this?

Why Most Cases Settle Out of Court

Somewhere in the ballpark of 95% of personal injury cases settle, and here’s why:

  • Settlements result in lower court and legal fees.
  • Settlements allow the defendant to control risk.
  • Settlements allow both parties to exercise control, whereas trials and juries are unpredictable.
  • Settlements allow plaintiffs to receive their money much faster.
  • Settlements can allow a defendant to keep the details private and out of the public eye.
  • Settlements can guarantee plaintiffs a victory where there’s no certainty of winning with a jury trial.

Juries Make Insurance Companies Nervous

If the parties cannot agree on a settlement, then the case will go to trial. At any point during the trial, the parties can agree on a settlement – as long as it’s before the jury comes back with a verdict.

Often, an insurance company will offer a deal to a plaintiff while the jury is deliberating because the insurance company is nervous. Or, the plaintiff will accept an offer made earlier because he or she is nervous about the forthcoming jury verdict.

Other times, a case will go to trial and the fate of the case will be decided by a jury. This commonly occurs when the defendant’s insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement. While the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, there is definitely a time and a place to resolve a case through a jury trial.

We hope this post helped you better understand settlements vs. trials. To file a claim for compensation in Columbia, SC, contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC today!


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