How Many Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial in Spring Hill?15Sep
A small percentage of personal injury cases lead to a trial, with some circumstances potentially turning a claim into a court proceeding. Several factors influence how many personal injury cases go to trial. Knowing more about how the trial process works and the circumstances leading up to a trial can help you determine whether your case might wind up settling in or out of court.
Reasons a Personal Injury Case Would Go to Trial in Spring Hill
There are many reasons a personal injury case may end up going to trial. It ultimately depends on the nature of the case, the severity of the injuries, and the liability involved.
For example, when working with a personal injury lawyer, the attorney may determine that it’s possible to win a large amount of compensation in a trial when settling a claim out of court may not get the same results. An attorney may also decide to proceed with a trial if the defendant’s insurer refuses to reach a fair settlement when the victim deserves total compensation.
In other cases, the plaintiff may want to hold liable parties publicly accountable for their actions, especially if they acted with egregious negligence or malicious intent. A trial could make the case more public and lead the judge or jury to award punitive damages intended to punish the defendant.
What Determines Whether a Case Settles or Goes to Trial?
Extending from the specific reasons personal injury cases go to trial, there are several key factors that will determine whether a case actually goes to court. These factors include:
- The extent of the injuries that victims suffered
- The victim’s loss of income and earning capacity
- The costs of rehabilitation, ongoing treatment, and physical therapy
- The plaintiff’s relationship with his or her family following an accident
- Property damage and other economic damages
- The likelihood of a judge or jury finding the plaintiff to be sympathetic
Injury lawyers can assess personal injury cases to determine if any of these factors may lead the case to a trial setting. However, personal injury cases rarely make it to the courtroom, with most settling in the form of an injury claim.
How Long Does a Typical Personal Injury Lawsuit Last?
If your personal injury case goes to court, the trial process can take anywhere from months to over a year to complete. The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury lawsuit will depend on the factors discussed above, including the severity of injuries and the overall complexity of the case.
To give you a better sense of how long a personal injury lawsuit can last, the following is an overview of the timeline for these cases.
Finding a Lawyer
In the days or weeks following an accident, you will need to find a personal injury attorney to help you file your claim or lawsuit. There are multiple reasons why you should hire a personal injury lawyer before initiating a personal injury claim or suit. For instance, you may be unfamiliar with the process, which could lead you to say the wrong thing or take the wrong actions, compromising your case.
An attorney can help you navigate the legal process. He or she can also help obtain and organize evidence and adequately prepare a case, which is particularly challenging in a trial setting.
Beginning the Investigation
After finding a lawyer, he or she can begin investigating your case. The attorney may do so by looking for medical records, organizing evidence such as photos of the scene of the accident and injuries, and speaking with witnesses to get their accounts.
Part of the investigation will involve determining liability, which can also be complicated. The four types of negligence could make a party liable through contributory, comparative, vicarious, or gross negligence, any of which can largely influence the outcome of a case.
Negotiating With Insurers
Before going to trial, you and your attorney may file a third-party claim against the liable party’s insurer. The insurance company may then either accept or deny the claim and, if the company decides to begin negotiating a settlement, will assign the case to an adjuster.
If the case doesn’t settle at this point, your lawyer may decide to proceed with a lawsuit, which would entail sending a written demand letter to the liable party. This demand letter would name the defendant and indicate that the plaintiff wishes to recover compensation through a claim.
After the defendant’s party accepts the demand letter and the case begins, the next stage will involve discovery. This process entails both parties involved exchanging information and evidence in an attempt to build their respective cases. This process often requires thorough investigation into the details of the case, meaning it can take anywhere from several months to a year to complete this stage.
Negotiations or Mediation
In one last attempt to avoid going to court, largely because of the expenses and delays involved, both parties may attempt to negotiate or mediate a settlement. This process can also take several months to complete before the plaintiff and defendant reach an agreement.
Taking the Case to Court
If negotiation or mediation doesn’t work, your lawyer may decide to take the case to court, officially launching a trial. This step will further expand the length of time it takes to reach a settlement. In fact, it can take months before the trial process begins, as lawyers need to schedule the trial well ahead of time. As a result, negotiations could continue before the trial starts.
A judge and jury will need to hear the case, which can also take a long time. Both parties will have the chance to make opening statements and closing arguments, with the ability to present and argue evidence in front of the judge and jury. Following this process, the judge and jury can make a decision regarding the case.
Eventually, the judge and jury will reach a judgment or verdict in the case. They may either side with the plaintiff or defendant. If they reach a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the court can then decide on the total amount of compensation the plaintiff is able to recover. This could include a mix of economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, depending on the nature of the case.
Collecting the Award
If the court awards compensation to the plaintiff, he or she will be able to recover it in a couple of different ways. Specifically, he or she may be able to receive compensation in the form of smaller incremental payments or a lump sum.
What Percentage of Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
So, just how many personal injury cases go to trial in Spring Hill? While there isn’t a specific number available in this city alone, personal injury cases rarely ever go to trial. Today, only around 5% of personal injury cases go to trial, with 95% settling during negotiations or through other means.
Attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants typically want to avoid the trial process because of its complexities and the costs involved. A case could go from taking months to taking years to settle if it goes to trial, and the court fees and other expenses can quickly add up, potentially making it not worth the hassle of going through the court system.
In most cases, attorneys will do what they can to settle during initial negotiations and reach a favorable settlement. Because most cases result in favorable outcomes for plaintiffs, defendants are often especially eager to settle during negotiations and avoid a trial.
Types of Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are three main types of damages that plaintiffs may recover in personal injury lawsuits, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic and non-economic damages are compensatory, meaning they aim to provide plaintiffs with compensation for the damages they sustain because of an accident. For example, plaintiffs may seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses, along with non-economic damages in the form of pain and suffering or psychological distress, among others.
Meanwhile, punitive damages have the specific goal of punishing defendants for unusually negligent or malicious behavior. The courts will award these in rare instances as a means of deterring grossly negligent defendants from committing the same acts, and they can also deter others from engaging in the same behavior.
A lawyer can help determine the types of damages you may be able to recover in either an injury claim or lawsuit.
Settling Cases Before the Trial Process
Personal injury cases rarely ever make it to trial, with most settling during initial negotiations or mediation. However, if you and your lawyer cannot come to an agreement with the defendant, it may be necessary to go to trial.