How Often Do Personal Injury Cases Actually Go To Trial?March 9, 2017
When you get hurt in a car wreck, at work, or other type of injury inducing incident and then you are forced to hire an attorney when the at-fault party’s insurance company denies liability, you may think you will eventually have to go to trial. Insurance companies often choose to spend more to defend a case than what it would cost to fairly compensate the injured party before they hired an attorney. Nonetheless, only a very small fraction of cases actually goes to trial, and here is why.
Trial is expensive for all parties involved. The trial itself of even the simplest of cases will take at least a full day, and the days leading up to the trial will be spent preparing for the trial. Plus, retained experts who prepare exhibits, charts, and demonstratives bill higher rates to testify at a trial. An adverse jury verdict could be appealed, further increasing costs to all of the parties. Essentially, the costs of a trial are usually much higher than settlement value in many cases.
Trials lack certainty as the jury has the final say. They could not believe testimony or think the claimed medical expenses were not related to the accident or were unnecessary. On the contrary, the defendants’ attorneys and insurance adjusters may value your case for far less than what a jury believes to be fair compensation. In Texas, insurance companies have an obligation under Stowers Doctrine to fairly settle a case within policy limits. The Stowers Doctrine is a powerful incentive for insurance companies to settle a case instead of going to trial. Settlement can be an advantageous option that allows you to retain control over your case. Unfortunately, there is not a similar process to invoke before litigation ensues.
Ultimately, the parties (not the lawyers) decide whether to settle or to proceed to trial as it is their case and the lawyers represent their interests. However, an experienced attorney can help you make the best decision factoring in the strengths and weaknesses of your case to help determine if trial is worth the risk of the uncertainty. The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have successfully handled all types of personal injury cases and can help you make an educated decision between settlement and trial. Contact us today for a free consultation.