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Study: 95 Percent of Personal Injury Cases Never Go to Trial

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A recent study found that 95 percent of personal injury lawsuits never make it to trial. Instead, they settle before a trial date is ever set.

The contending parties are usually well aware that there’s no guarantee the jury will weigh in on their side, which is why the majority of personal injury cases settle out of court: No one wants to be surprised when he or she receives an unfavorable decision.

Trying any type of case before a jury is often like playing a game of Russian roulette, but then there’s that five percent that don’t reach a settlement. In some legal disputes, the case will actually go to trial.

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When parties disagree about the value

The main reason cases go all the way to court is that one party thinks the value of its case is considerably different from what the other party expects it to be. For example, an auto accident victim believes his case is worth $500,000, but the other party is only willing to offer $25,000. When this type of disparity is present, the disagreement is more likely to wind up at trial.

Also, when the insurance company takes a hard line about the amount it’s willing to pay in a personal injury case, or the firm is unwilling to pay any compensation at all, the case is more likely to go to trial. This is because insurance companies weigh their profit margin against the benefits they award to claimants on their policies.

So, as a rule, insurance carriers tend not to offer a maximum reward, and may low-ball claims.

The attorney recommends litigation rather than settlement

In some cases, the attorneys choose to go to trial instead of negotiating a settlement for their clients. While most attorneys would agree that settling outside the courtroom tends to be the least damaging, and therefore most favorable, outcome for their clients, some attorneys will decide that a jury verdict could arrive at a higher settlement.

It’s in the best interest of a client to make sure his or her personal injury attorney has a reasonable amount of trial experience before agreeing to go to court. Experienced trial attorneys know how to play to the emotions of the jury and raise the odds of winning a bigger settlement, but inexperience could lead to a smaller award — or worse, none at all.

It is always up to the client, in the end

Regardless of how the personal injury attorney regards the chances, the decision to go to court is ultimately the client’s. Some clients will want their day in court whether or not there’s a fair settlement offer on the table.

It’s vital to weigh all the pros and cons before making this decision. Turning down an offer and opting for litigation is a momentous choice. A personal injury attorney can help the person decide whether it’s likely to be the smart decision in his or her situation.

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About Jenna Cyprus

Jenna is a freelance writer who loves the outdoors; especially camping while relaxing with her family.
  • bliffle

    It’s easy to convince naive citizens that malingerers regularly fleece Big Companies of millions of dollars through litigation. Thus, the support for “tort reform”. But it is not true. Most cases are settled for very low amounts.

    Perhaps people will cite the case of “that woman who spilled hot coffee on herself and got many millions of dollars.” But you can check it out yourself by googling Stella Liebeck and the Hot Coffee case. She got almost nothing after trying to get McD to pay some of her $20,000 medical expenses for 3rd degree burns. Third degree burns! That’s horrible! And McD was utterly irresponsible, unrepentant, and unyielding. So McD stonewalled for years and finally settled (secretly) for pennies.

    Then she died.

    But McD and their PR people keep repeating their lying story so that it even appears their way on TV, like on “Seinfeld”.

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