However, sometimes you need to pursue legal action in order to make someone take responsibility for your injuries. If you find yourself with a valid personal injury case, though, you might be worrying about actually taking things to trial. That’s why one of the most common questions people ask their attorneys is just how far they think their case will need to go.
Will Your Case Need To Go To Trial?
If you’ve ever seen a legal drama about landmark personal injury cases, then you know Hollywood has taught you going to trial is the way you actually “win” a case so that you can be awarded the funds you need to get your life back together, and to walk away from a situation vindicated. However, those legal thrillers are no closer to real life than action movies are to what real-life murder investigations are like.
According to The Law Dictionary, roughly 95 to 96 percent of personal injury cases reach a settlement without ever going to trial. While that might sound like a number that’s far too high to be true, it’s taken directly from the U.S. legal system.
Those numbers aren’t a fluke from a particularly unusual year, either. Most of the time if you have a personal injury case, you will not end up going to trial with it. Instead your attorney (and by extension you) will negotiate with the other party until you reach a settlement that you feel is adequate. This may take a great deal of time, with several meetings to hash out all the pertinent details, but in the end it is the option that is most likely for your case.
Why You May Not Want To Go To Trial
Again, popular fiction has consistently depicted pre-trial or out-of-court settlements in a negative light. It’s seen as the lesser option in these stories, largely because it isn’t very dramatic. Bargaining, or reaching an agreement without the mounting pressure of convincing a judge, or the fiery speeches you need to win over a jury, doesn’t make for a good novel, film, or TV show. It would also mean there’s no scenes of actual investigation, with witness interviews being conducted, evidence being discovered, and the incident coming into clearer focus for the audience.
But in the real world where people have actual injuries and lives they’re trying to get back to, out-of-court settlements are the smarter option. They can be handled without media attention or press, and while they can take a great deal of time to finalize, they are often significantly faster than the court system. Courts, as a rule, have packed schedules, which means it could take several months before you even get the preliminary steps taken care of to start the wheels of justice turning on your behalf. And that’s before the question of time and costs surrounding the investigation into the incident happen, when interviews need to happen, security footage needs to be reviewed, and all of the pertinent data needs to be assembled so that it can be presented to the court before a decision is reached in a trial.
However, another reason to avoid actually going to trial is that the numbers just aren’t good for those who set foot in a courtroom.
Of the personal injury cases that go to trial, roughly 90 percent of them end up losing. There are all kinds of reasons for this, but the popular image of the wronged party being awarded a sizable sum so they can pay their bills and get their lives back to where they were before their injury is a rarity in the real world. More often they simply end up with legal costs, and no better off than they were before. And, depending on how long the case was drug out, they may end up significantly worse off. This is particularly true where jury trials are concerned, oddly enough. It’s bench trials, where the lawyers make their case directly to a judge, that have the best chance of succeeding when one goes to trial. However, even those cases still have a very slim chance of winning.
Every Case is Unique
It’s important to remember that every personal injury case is completely unique, and has to be judged on its own merits. While there are general trends regarding these kinds of cases, and rules of thumb for handling them, what might be considered a smart move in general might not be an ideal decision for your particular case. It will depend on what happened to you, how it’s been handled thus far, the documentation involved, and dozens of other factors that could all play their part.
That’s why it’s so important to discuss your case with legal experts who know personal injury law, and who can best advise you on where to go with your case.
Because when it comes down to it, legal cases are all about strategy. And while it’s true that the stronger your case is, the better your chances of winning are, it also means that you have more leverage when it comes to getting what you want from an out-of-court settlement. Because if you have one of those cases that’s strong enough to fall into that 10 percent of winners, it’s often a smarter move on the part of the liable party to come to the negotiation table rather than to hope for the best once a trial starts.
If you have been injured, and you want to pursue a case, then all you need to do is contact us today! Our legal experts can review your case, and work with you to find a strategy that will get you where you need to be.