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Can I Avoid a Personal Injury Trial?

Can I Avoid a Personal Injury Trial?

When people are injured in accidents due to no fault of their own, they typically have the legal grounds to file a civil lawsuit, otherwise known as a personal injury claim against the at-fault individual or business. In all honesty, personal injury cases serve a higher purpose. They help deter individuals and larger, corporate entities from engaging in unsafe practices and behaviors that endanger the safety of men, women and children.

Sometimes when someone is injured, they have a conflict in their head. “Should I bother filing a personal injury claim? I don’t want the headache of a trial.” Or, they’ll think something to the effect of, “I just don’t have the energy or patience to go to court.”

Unfortunately, when people have these types of thoughts, they can prevent them from obtaining much-needed and much-deserved compensation, which usually comes from an insurance policy previously secured by the at-fault party for situations just like this.

Suppose you were injured in an accident and there’s a perfectly good insurance policy already in place that would cover your economic and non-economic damages, but you chose not to file a claim because you were not interested in going to trial. What could happen? What would you lose out on?

  • You could have to pay all of your co-pays and insurance deductibles.
  • You could have to pay all of your uncovered medical expenses.
  • You would not be compensated for lost income.
  • You would not be compensated for pain and suffering.
  • You could have to pay for all property damage or loss suffered.
  • You could lose out on valuable compensation.
  • You could face a life of regret when you realize your mistake.

Truth About Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’re afraid of going to court because you don’t have the time, energy, or patience for a protracted court battle, we have news for you: The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits settle out of court. In fact, somewhere in the ballpark of 90 and 95% of personal injury lawsuits are settled through negotiations and for very good reason.

There are numerous benefits to settling a personal injury claim out of court and believe it or not, there are advantages to both sides, including:

  • For the plaintiff (injured party), they receive their money much faster.
  • Both sides, the plaintiff and defendant maintain control of the negotiation process vs. a jury trial, where neither side has control of the outcome.
  • Juries are unpredictable, so both sides can maintain some predictability by negotiating a fair settlement. Neither side faces a “big surprise” when the jury comes back with a verdict.
  • The settlement can be kept private, helping companies in particular maintain privacy.
  • Settling out of court drives down the costs significantly for both sides, leaving more money on the table.
  • For the plaintiff, there’s no guarantee a jury will rule in their favor, thus a settlement ensures the plaintiff will receive compensation.

If you were to file a personal injury claim, would your case settle outside of court? Given the odds, there is a very high probability that your case will be resolved during private negotiations with the at-fault party and their insurance carrier. However, this does not mean a trial is off-limits. In some cases, especially when an insurance company is playing hardball, a trial becomes a necessary tool to bring justice to the plaintiff.

Related: Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in SC


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