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Will My Personal Injury Case Go To Court If It Becomes a Lawsuit?

Gavel in courtroom where a personal injury trial is taking placeAs personal injury attorneys, we represent clients who have suffered serious personal injuries as the result of various types of accidents. From motor vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, and slip and fall accidents to construction site accidents and defective product accidents we have more than 90 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims of all kinds.

While each type of case involves different legal issues, a common question we are asked by clients in every type of case type is this: “will my case go to trial?”

Is a Trial Required to Resolve a Personal Injury Claim?

Each individual personal injury case is unique, and as a result there is no ability in any given case, at the outset, to predict whether a trial may be necessary to bring the client justice.

However, there are a couple of important things to know when you are wondering whether or not your personal injury case will go to trial:

1. Most Cases Don’t Ever Make It To the Courtroom

Though we prepare all of our clients’ cases as if they are going to trial, the reality is that most cases (commonly estimated to be more than 90%) do not end up going to trial. The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled before the case reaches the courtroom, some even without a lawsuit being brought.

There are good reasons why most cases settle before they reach the courtroom. Fundamentally, lawyers who handle these cases are experienced in being able to analyze how a jury might evaluate issues of liability (generally referred to as “negligence” or “fault”), and the injuries that result from the accident.

Negotiation occurs in virtually every case, and seasoned attorneys should be able to come to an amount that represents a fair “compromise” that takes into consideration the risk to each side in allowing a jury to place a value on the injuries and damages. The “risk” is an appreciation by the parties’ attorneys that the jury may see the case much differently than either side does, and therefore reaching a settlement makes both parties a winner in that the unpredictability of trial and the jury’s decision making is avoided.

Settling a case before it goes to trial also avoids many of the significant costs (eg. thousands of dollars for medical provider testimony, demonstrative evidence production, witness fees, etc.) that are necessarily incurred in bringing a lawsuit into the courtroom. Years ago the costs involved, which reduce the client’s recovery, were a fraction of those incurred today. For example, having an orthopedic surgeon testify 15 years ago typically cost between $2,500 to $3,500; while today the cost is between $7,500 to $10,000. Finally, the delays associated with getting the case to trial, as well as the chance that the jury’s decision will be appealed and reduced, or that a new trial may be ordered, are additional reasons that cases are more often settled before trial.

Every case has a settlement value. If both sides participate in the negotiation process in good faith, most often the case will be settled to the satisfaction of the parties before it reaches the courtroom.

2. You Are In Control Over What Happens With Your Case

Ultimately, you as the client decide whether your case will go to trial. If you do not want to proceed to trial with your case, that is your choice. It’s not your lawyer’s decision.

A good settlement is one in which the attorney has done his best to advise the client of the risks and rewards of settling as opposed to going to trial. Once he has done that, it’s up to the client, for whatever reasons he chooses are important, to decide what to do.

Even if your lawyer advises against it, you can settle your case outside before it reaches the courtroom. While sometimes the full measure of damages to which you are entitled can’t be obtained short of trial, you have the freedom to choose to settle outside of court.

Handling Personal Injury Cases In and Out Of The Courtroom

Essentially, when it comes to determining whether or not your case will go to trial, it comes down to two important issues:

  • first, whether or not your attorney and the attorney for the other party involved in the case can come to a reasonable settlement value for the case before it reaches the courtroom;
  • and second, whether you wish to accept that amount, or proceed to trial.

At Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, we’ve been representing injured persons in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga and throughout the Capital Region for over three decades. If you’ve been injured and are interested in bringing a personal injury claim, turn to our experienced team. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you obtain the compensation you deserve, and a history of record setting verdicts and settlements for past clients.

Check out these top reasons to choose AMT Law if you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer in Upstate NY, then contact us to get the conversation started.

Give us a call today at (518) 785-4900 or contact us online for a free consultation with a member of our experienced legal team.

Curious about other aspects of pursuing a personal injury case? Check out our FAQs page for the answers to other questions we are frequently asked by our clients.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published in 2016 but has been revised as of December 2018.

Jeff Anderson

About Jeff Anderson

As the managing partner at the law firm, Mr. Anderson has over three decades of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases and has achieved numerous multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of his clients. Read More About Jeffrey Kyle Anderson »