If you decide to pursue a personal injury case, you might wonder whether it will go to trial. That is always possible, but the entity or individual you sue can also decide they want to settle with you.
It’s seldom easy to predict how these cases will go, and you’ll certainly want a skilled attorney by your side to help you get through these murky waters.
In this article, we’ll go over some elements that will likely enter into whether your personal injury case will head to trial or not.
If a case does not go to trial, that more than likely means you’ve come up with a preponderance of the evidence, and the person or individual who you’re using doesn’t think they can win against you by getting a jury to find in their favor.
They feel like you can prove negligence, which is key if you want to win your case.
Proving the legal elements of negligence isn’t easy, but that’s usually what will dictate how a personal injury case concludes. Negligence means a person or entity failed to act with reasonable or expected care.
Let’s say that you’re suing a doctor for medical malpractice. That’s a pretty common personal injury situation. Maybe a doctor prescribed the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage. Perhaps they operated on you when they didn’t need to do so.
If you can prove the doctor should have known they made a mistake with how they cared for you, you’ve essentially proven negligence on their part.
The medical profession would have expected the doctor to act differently to meet the care standard you should have received.
If you can demonstrate this beyond doubt through eyewitness testimony, written documents, expert witnesses, etc., you should win your case.
Why Someone Won’t Settle Before a Trial
Getting back to whether your personal injury case will play out in a courtroom or not, reputation is one crucial thing to consider.
Maybe you’ve brought a personal injury case against a person or company because you feel they harmed you. They don’t want you to ruin their reputation. Perhaps they feel like their good name counts for a lot.
They might offer you some token amount instead of risking appearing in court and losing on a technicality. Their lawyer or the firm representing them might suggest they offer you a small sum if that will get you to drop the lawsuit.
Maybe they’re willing to do that rather than risk all the bad publicity that can come along with a trial.
If they feel confident they can win the case, though, or it’s a matter of pride with them, a defendant might refuse to settle with you, going against their lawyer’s recommendation.
They might also take an attorney’s advice if their counsel looks at your evidence and feels the defendant can beat those charges in court.
If someone won’t settle and they go on trial, that’s a calculated risk on their part. Yes, they might win if the jury feels you didn’t prove this individual or entity harmed you, but they can also take a loss that will award you a considerable amount of money in damages.
Not only that, but losing at trial is potentially a public relations disaster. Some individuals and companies go bankrupt or lose millions of dollars in business following personal injury case losses.
Other Factors That Can Go Into a Defendant’s Decision
Some other factors can come into play when a defendant decides whether to take you on in court or whether they might offer you a settlement instead.
For instance, if the defendant has a skilled legal team, they might file all kinds of motions that will hold up the proceedings. They might challenge evidence you’ve presented during the discovery phase or question a witness’s validity.
These tactics can draw out the proceedings and test your willingness to engage in a long, sometimes frustrating legal battle.
The entity or person you’re suing might feel that you’ll want to throw in the towel if they just drag their feet by using legal methods to delay the entire process.
You might give up and drop the lawsuit if the pre-trial motions continue for weeks or months with no end in sight.
Eventually, you may also accept a small amount as recompense for your perceived personal injury if you’re not willing to take any more time out of your life to pursue this matter.
Doubtless, you want to hold the person or entity responsible for who harmed you, but you probably also want to continue with your life.
Sitting through lawyer meetings isn’t much fun, and you might simply want to move past the whole thing at some juncture.
What if You Won’t Give Up?
However, maybe you feel the person or entity who harmed you acted so egregiously that you have no choice but to see this thing through to the end. Perhaps you sustained harm so that you can’t return to your normal life ever again.
Maybe you can’t resume work because this entity or individual harmed you permanently. Perhaps you’re bringing a wrongful death suit on behalf of a family member. That’s a personal injury lawsuit as well.
If you won’t give up, it doesn’t matter how long the entity or individual you’re suing tries to hold up the proceedings.
You either won’t stop until they offer you what you consider an appropriate settlement amount, or else you and your lawyer will meet them in court if they won’t settle.
A defendant who won’t back down and a plaintiff who won’t either are probably due to facing off in court sooner or later.
A legal team can try to delay, but the case will go to trial, and then it’s eventually up to a jury.
Remember, though, that even if a trial starts, the defendant can still offer a settlement amount at any time if they see the proceedings going against them.
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