When Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?

July 12, 2021
Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases seldom go to trial. For a plaintiff to prevail in a personal injury case, they must prove that an injury was caused by the defendant. A plaintiff might be able to get compensation by either agreeing to a settlement or bringing a successful case to trial. 

Different legal principles can form the basis for a personal injury case, such as negligence. Legal defenses can sometimes be raised by a defendant, including comparative negligence. A successful defense can negatively impact a personal injury case. 

Good evidence serves as leverage to obtain a settlement favorable to the plaintiff.  A defendant may hold out in negotiations to try to settle for the least amount the plaintiff is willing to accept. However, if the evidence strongly favors the plaintiff and there are no good defenses, the defendant will usually offer to settle rather than risk losing in court. If there is no settlement offer or the offer is too low, the plaintiff may benefit from going to trial.

What are the Benefits of Settling Out of Court?

Even if the evidence is robust, there can be good reasons for the defendant to settle. A defendant will weigh the risks of settling against the risks of the plaintiff winning a large jury award, which can include damages for pain and suffering. In cases where injuries are extensive, pain and suffering costs can be as much as or more than the costs awarded for medical care.

Plaintiffs can also have incentives to settle. A plaintiff may want to settle out of court to protect their privacy or to eliminate the risk of not being awarded any damages if they lose at trial. Also, taking a case to trial takes longer to resolve.  Settlements usually resolve within three to six months, while trials can take twice as long.

A settlement means both parties are saved the costs of preparing for the trial, which includes gathering all relevant evidence, performing investigations, and paying court filing fees. They are also spared the uncertainty that comes with a trial. 

Why is it Important to Have an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer?

An experienced personal injury lawyer appreciates the strengths and weaknesses of their client’s case as well as their goals. They also know how awards have been made by courts within their jurisdiction for similar cases.

Having a skilled lawyer ready, willing, and able to go to trial is an advantage in settlement negotiations. A defendant will review the record of the plaintiff’s lawyer. If the plaintiff’s lawyer has never gone to trial, then the defendant can be expected to take a firmer stance in negotiations, compared to situations where the plaintiff’s lawyer has a record of achieving successful verdicts.

Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Decide to Accept Settlements or Go to Court

The compassionate Delaware County personal injury lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. work tirelessly to help each client get the best possible outcome in their personal injury case. We will evaluate whether you should agree to a settlement or go to trial. Complete our online form or call us at 610-565-3701 to schedule an initial consultation. We are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.