One of the biggest concerns injured parties have, especially if they're facing mounting medical bills, is how long the case is likely to take. They may be particularly concerned about the possibility of ending up at trial. Let's take a look at what the chances are of an injury case going to trial and what is most likely to happen before that point.
Are You Going to Trial?
Few personal injury attorneys are ever going to say definitively that a case won't go to trial, but the odds of landing in court are fairly low. Most estimates indicate that about one out of 20 cases will go to trial. The best answer that can be given at the outset of a case is, "Most likely not."
So What Happens Instead?
Negotiation of a claim with an insurance company is the most common route a case goes. Again, that doesn't presuppose that the company might put up a fight and end up at trial, but it's not highly likely.
Insurance carriers usually appoint adjusters to examine claims they've received. Your attorney will assemble the best argument they can for why you should be paid compensation. The adjuster will then go through the details of the case to first determine whether the case is valid. If they determine it is valid, they will then arrive at a compensation offer they believe is fair based on available data for similar injuries under similar circumstances.
Your lawyer is obligated to provide any settlement offers to you. They can then explain whether they believe you should accept or continue to negotiate.
What Pushes a Case to Trial?
Two events are likely to force an injured party to consider a lawsuit. First, the insurance company may outright reject the claim. Second, negotiations might carry on without the two sides getting close to a settlement. In both instances, a lawsuit will eventually become the strongest available option.
It May Still Not Go to Trial
Initiating a lawsuit is an escalation of the negotiation process, but it's rarely the end of negotiations. The court will order discovery, a process that requires all sides to turn over all relevant information about the case. For example, the personal injury attorneys for someone injured in a slip-and-fall at a grocery store would be well-positioned to demand discovery of video surveillance from the time of the incident. Settlements are frequently reached once something damaging comes out in discovery.
Contact your personal injury attorney to ask any other questions you may have about how your case will proceed.