Your case might not require a trial. It can be hard to determine this alone, though; you could hire a lawyer for help. People hire attorneys for many reasons. Many hire attorneys because they simply are not aware of their options and look to legal advocates searching for justice and fairness in winning their case.
Others hire attorneys because they look to lawyers as having all the answers when they understand very little about the legal process. Whatever the reason, attorneys, specifically plaintiffs’ attorneys, are here to make the process easier and every step a little smoother.
Clients Often Have Two Questions
When hiring attorneys, clients often have two major questions: “How much money will I receive, and do we have to go to trial?”
The answer to the first question is largely dependent on the severity of the client’s injuries, the type of treatment they received, and how long they received said treatment. A broken arm that does not require surgery will likely call for much less compensation than a traumatic brain injury. This kind of brain injury has lasting effects that require ongoing treatment, therapy, and support. Many other factors play a role, too.
Clients are not often fond of the “it depends” response, but that is often the answer to the second question, as well. Cases do often not require a trial, especially when working in personal injury.
Most cases with soft tissue injuries will settle within three to six months without trial. Only a handful of every 100 cases we represent go before a jury in court. We won compensation for 6,500 clients in 2019.
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How Will I Know If My Case Will Go to Trial?
There are some common reasons why it may be necessary to take a case to a jury trial. These include:
- The other party denies liability: The liable party or their insurance company refuses to take responsibility for the accident and injuries and will not negotiate with our team for a settlement.
- The defense challenges the facts of the case: There are disagreements about what happened, who caused it, or whether certain injuries occurred because of the incident. This may need to be settled by the jury.
- The insurer low-balls all offers: The insurance company sometimes simply refuses to negotiate fairly based on the damages suffered. We may suggest filing a lawsuit and possibly going to trial to get appropriate compensation when this happens.
- You have to follow deadlines: There is a limited time to sue under your state’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims. In Louisiana, this is generally only one year from the accident date. If this deadline approaches with no agreement, you may need to sue to prevent losing the right to do so.
Do Lawyers Know How the Case Could Go From the Beginning of the Case?
However, some cases require going to trial. Lawyers take on these cases with that understanding from the beginning. If the client received a great deal of treatment for a serious injury and the offers extended from the insurance company are simply not enough, then a suit will have to be filed.
Some cases will immediately send up a red flag for trial if the injury is considered to be serious, such as broken bones or an injury that requires surgery, and the insurance company is not offering proper compensation.
Are There Alternatives to a Trial?
Filing an insurance claim and negotiating a settlement is a common alternative to filing a lawsuit and going to trial. Settlement negotiation is a very successful measure in preventing court appearances. Most personal injury cases never go in front of a jury, and many never require us to begin the lawsuit process. We can negotiate a fair settlement instead.
Mediation and arbitration also allow the client ample opportunity to settle outside of court and without the burden or stress of attending a trial. This is possible even after suing the defendant. The benefit to mediating a personal injury claim is largely to avoid a conservative jury, and lower verdict than a settlement would potentially provide.
Mediation provides neutral, non-adversarial grounds for negotiating a claim and serves to maximize the settlement in most cases. When there is a neutral third party overseeing the negotiations, it is sometimes possible to find a place to meet in the middle when we could not previously.
Do I Have a Choice About Going to Trial?
Ultimately, the client has a choice over his or her case. The client has exclusive control over the claim that the client hired the attorney to guide them through. A client could retain an attorney for many reasons, but the client must steer the resolution and direction of the case with guidance from the attorney.
Therefore, to answer question number two: no, if you hire an attorney, your case will not always require a trial. There are many options and alternatives to going to trial, but, definitively, it is up to you as the client to decide whether or not your case will go to trial. If going to trial seems scary, there are options like settlement and mediation with the guidance of your attorney. Your lawyer will also guide you through what to expect if you do face trial.
Your lawyer can also put you at ease about going to a jury trial. There are some cases that benefit greatly from filing a lawsuit. If your attorney believes your case fits this bill, they may:
- Encourage you to sue
- Offer information about what to expect throughout this process
- Give you advice about what to wear, where to park, and what to say
- Help you prepare for any court appearance you need to make
- Represent you and your best interests to the judge, jury, and other involved parties
Your personal injury attorney has taken cases to trial before. In some cases, they may know the judge and have experience in the very same courtroom with similar cases. They are your best resource for knowing if your case should go to trial and what you can expect if you do.
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You can talk to an attorney from the Morris Bart law office about your case today. We have 15 offices in four states: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama. We represent our clients based on contingency fees with no upfront expenses.
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