Will I Need to Go to Trial for My Personal Injury Claim?

empty-court-roomMost personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement before going to trial. However, sometimes a trial becomes necessary to pursue the full value of a case. Learn more about why some claims may go to trial and why others may not.

Why Most Cases Settle

When a case is settled, both sides come to an agreement that they believe favors them. If the case moves to trial, a jury will decide which party should win the case.

A major reason why most personal injury cases settle is that both parties recognize the risk of losing by proceeding to trial. A trial could result in the defendant being ordered to pay a higher amount of compensation than what the two sides might agree upon in negotiations. 

Conversely, a trial could result in the case being dismissed without compensation being awarded to the victim, despite medical bills and missing time at work due to the injury. The plaintiff also has the burden of proving their case through presenting evidence to the jury.

Advantages of a Settlement

There can be advantages to settling a personal injury claim out of court:

  • It can take a year or more from the date of an injury for a trial to begin. By settling your case at the time that your attorney advises you to settle, you will receive fair compensation along with the opportunity to resume your normal life.
  • It is impossible to predict the amount of a verdict. Sometimes, victims do not receive anything from a trial.
  • Defendants may be motivated to keep their names out of the public record. If they go to trial, there will be a public record of the victim’s claim and the amount of money the victim received, if the jury ruled in the victim’s favor.

What Happens When a Settlement Cannot Be Reached?

If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer may advise you to move forward to trial.

The move to the courtroom will not be immediate. A trial date will be set, likely for months later. Sometimes, the defendant will reach out with a settlement offer while waiting for the trial date to approach.

What to Expect at Trial

There are many steps in a trial. After the jury has been selected, both sides will present their opening statements.

Evidence will then be presented by both attorneys. Witnesses will be asked to testify. You may be called to testify by your own attorney.

Once both sides have presented their cases, closing arguments will be issued by both attorneys. Then, the jury will be excused to begin deliberations, which could take anywhere from hours to months.

The verdict that is issued could either be in favor of you or the other party, or a mistrial could be declared.

Injured in an Accident? Contact an Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Sacramento personal injury attorneys at The Arnold Law Firm have a proven record of obtaining compensation via a settlement or court decision.

Call the Arnold Law Firm at (916) 777-7777 or fill out a free online form.