If you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or any other personal injury situation, you might wonder what will happen to your case. Will it settle, or will there be a courtroom date? Several elements come into play regarding the outcome of every personal injury case in Greenville, SC.
However, according to the Bureau of Judicial Statistics, only 3% of personal injury claims go to trial. The majority of the claims usually settle out of court. While your personal injury attorney will fight for your rights to compensation, you decide whether you want to settle or proceed to trial.
What Determines if Your Case Will Go to Court or Settle?
Several factors determine whether your personal injury claim will go to trial or settlement.
Your personal injury attorney and the defendant’s attorney will decide the best course of action after analyzing:
- The extent of your injuries
- Your medical and rehabilitation costs
- Your income and earning capabilities
- Whether you suffered any type of damages, such as lost wages, pain, and suffering, or property
- Your age and family situation
- Whether the judge or jury might sympathize with you
- The strength of the evidence in your favor
- Insurance company’s willingness to pay out on a settlement agreement
- Your attorney’s ability to negotiate
When Do Cases Go to Court?
While only a small portion of personal injury claims proceed to trial, some reasons your case might go to court include:
- If you believe the settlement amount offered is unfair or unreasonable.
- Both parties can’t agree on who’s liable for the accident.
- Both parties disagree over the claim value.
- The at-fault party’s insurance company isn’t willing to settle out of court.
- The settlement your personal injury attorney is demanding is too high.
- You want the at-fault party to be held publicly accountable for the accident.
- The at-fault party’s insurance company is acting in bad faith.
When Do Cases Settle?
You might consider settling out of court because:
- You are content with the settlement amount.
- The at-fault insurer considers settling as the cheaper avenue for them.
- To avoid the long, stressful, and expensive trial process.
- You don’t want the case to go public.
- You want to move on with your life as soon as possible.
Pros and Cons of Bringing a Personal Injury Trial to Court
- You might receive a higher compensation than a settlement.
- There’s a sense of justice. You might even feel closure, especially if your loved one suffered a wrongful death.
- Public accountability since the at-fault party will be accountable in the full view of the public since trials are public records.
- Adequate time to prepare an airtight case.
- Lengthy and expensive legal processes.
- Additional emotional anguish since you have to relive the accident.
- No guarantees for compensation, even if you deserve it.
- Loss of confidentiality since the trial is part of public records.
What to Expect in a Personal Injury Trial
Various steps are involved after your attorney has filed a lawsuit and the court has given the go-ahead to proceed.
- Jury selection
- Case processes, such as delivering the opening statements
- Cross-examining the witnesses, including any experts, and considering their testimonies
- Delivering the closing arguments
- Jury deliberations and verdict
Before going to trial, both parties can take months to prepare and build an air-tight case adequately.
How to Avoid Your Case Going to Court
While going to court has benefits, it might not be the only course of action for your personal injury case. If you aren’t ready or willing to proceed to trial, there are other legal avenues to explore that’ll keep you out of court;
- Settlement: Both parties meet with a judge or a neutral party to converse on a possible settlement for your case. Both parties evaluate the particulars of your case and negotiate a fair settlement based on the damages you incurred. Settlement negotiations might be court mandated or voluntary.
- Neutral evaluation: Each party presents its summaries and evidence to a neutral party, the evaluator, who is an expert on personal injury law. The evaluator provides an unbiased and balanced evaluation of the case and the possible outcome if it goes to trial. While the evaluator’s opinions aren’t final or binding, they provide a base for settlement negotiations.
- Mediation: a neutral and impartial party called a mediator facilitates both parties to communicate and find an amicable solution to the case. The mediator doesn’t make legal decisions, and the parties control the outcome.
- Arbitration: A neutral party — an arbitrator — listens to both parties’ arguments and evidence and makes a decision. Arbitration can be binding (both parties accept the award and waive the right to a trial) or nonbinding (you can proceed to trial if unsatisfied with the award).
Before proceeding with any of these avenues, ensure you have all the information you can obtain. Talk to your injury attorney about the best avenue to take to ensure you don’t go to court.
Legal Help With Personal Injury Trials in Greenville
If you’re unsure whether your case should proceed to trial or settle out of court, it’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, our experience with personal injury litigation is at your disposal. Contact Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers, LLC in Greenville for your free consultation.
Personal Injury Trial FAQs
How much compensation will the personal injury trial award me?
Every personal injury claim is unique. No single figure fits all regarding the compensation amount you might receive. However, if you qualify for compensation, you might recover damages such as pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and property damage.
Do I need an attorney for my personal injury trial?
A personal injury attorney plays a vital role in the outcome of your lawsuit. A personal injury trial undergoes several legal phases, and an attorney will help you navigate them. Further, the attorney will advise you on your legal options regarding your claim.