The short answer is no– your personal injury lawsuit will probably not go to trial. Research conducted by Cornell University Law School found approximately two-thirds of cases result in an out-of-court settlement. When you call a personal injury attorney for a free consultation, the professional you speak with should be able to give you a realistic assessment of your case. This would include the type of compensation you might expect and how it might be resolved.
Continue reading to learn more about why most personal injury cases settle, why one might go to trial, and how to tell which option is best for your claim. Contact us at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., if you have further questions.
Why Do Personal Injury Lawsuits Typically Settle?
Most personal injury claims settle because:
- The payout is guaranteed and not contingent on a jury, offering the plaintiff greater control.
- Trials take longer and cost more in expenses and attorney fees.
- Settling defendants do not have to admit liability in order to resolve the claim.
- Details of a settlement can be sealed, confidential, and kept private.
Most personal injury plaintiffs do not accept the first offer that comes their way but seek legal representation to determine a fair settlement. Insurance companies are notorious for making initial lowball offers, hoping the plaintiff will be desperate to put the matter behind them. Even if it seems if they’re offering a decent sum, it’s wise to seek legal advice in a personal injury consultation before agreeing to anything. The process of settlement typically takes six months to a year. Either party can choose to settle at any time, before– or sometimes during– a trial.
Why Might a Personal Injury Lawsuit Go to Trial?
A personal liability lawsuit may go to trial if:
- The injuries are particularly severe, resulting in pain and suffering or permanent disability.
- The amount of medical bills, future medical bills, loss of wages, and lost earning capacity is high.
- The two parties cannot agree on the facts to reach a civil agreement.
- The insurance company refuses to acknowledge liability or pay.
- The plaintiff wants a public trial that can be used as an example and wishes to pursue punitive damages.
Trials can take 1-3 years to resolve, particularly when there are appeals filed. Despite the lengthy proceedings, experienced legal professionals often have investigative teams and expert witnesses they can lean on to build substantial claims for maximum compensation. Nevertheless, the process can be challenging, particularly if a plaintiff has to take the stand, so it’s recommended that you hire a responsive, capable legal team that makes you feel at ease.
Once a settlement is accepted, the plaintiff waives the right to collect damages in the future, so if there is a potential for life-long disability, pain, and hardship, a trial may be the best way to guarantee these far-off expenses are fully covered.
Is a Settlement or Court Case Best for Personal Injury Lawsuits?
A personal injury trial is a gamble because you may walk away with nothing. However, if you win, the payout can be 4-10x what you’d get in a settlement offer, with the largest amounts paid for pain and suffering or, in rare cases, punitive damages. There is no harm in contacting an experienced personal injury attorney for counsel, as they work on a contingency basis, meaning no legal fee is owed unless compensation is recovered on your behalf.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
At the personal injury law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., we prepare every Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ lawsuit as if it will go to trial. Ultimately, you decide whether to accept an offer or pursue damages in court. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.