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Will My Car Accident Case Go to Trial?

September 18, 2023

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After a car accident that caused vehicle damage or injuries, you have a few options for getting compensation:

  • You can file a first-party claim with your car insurance company through your Med Pay or uninsured driver policy.
  • You can file a third-party claim with the other driver’s car insurance company, alone or with the help of a lawyer.
  • You can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver with the help of a lawyer.

Of these three options, filing a lawsuit is the only one that can potentially lead to a trial, but it’s not a guarantee that a trial will actually occur.

If you need compensation after a car accident and are wondering if you’ll see the inside of a courtroom at any point in the process, here’s what you need to know.

Most Injury Lawsuits Settle Long Before Trial

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, only around 3% of personal injury cases end via trial. Most end in settlements or dismissals. In addition, many cases that do make it to trial don’t end in a jury verdict. Instead, they also end in settlements at some point during the trial.

The vast majority of personal injury cases, including car accident cases, end in settlements because it’s the preferred option for all involved parties. Settlements are faster and less costly than jury trials, which can last for days or weeks and require months of preparation.

A Trial Can Be Useful if the At-Fault Party or Their Insurer Refuse to Pay

While at-fault drivers and their insurers also often prefer settlements over trials, they sometimes refuse to pay fair settlements. When this happens, going to trial is the only remaining option for getting compensation.

If your case goes to trial, the amount of money you’ll receive if you win isn’t ultimately agreed upon by you, your lawyer, the at-fault party, or their lawyer like it is in a settlement. Instead, it’s decided by the jury (with influence from your attorney during the trial).

The jury can also decide to award you punitive damages if the at-fault driver was especially reckless before crashing into you, such as in acts of road rage. Although these damages aren’t designed to compensate victims—rather, they’re designed to punish at-fault parties—they can be substantial and are only available through a jury verdict at trial.

We Prepare All Car Accident Cases As if They’re Going to Trial

Although a small minority of car accident cases actually end up in a courtroom and are decided by a jury, we still build them as if they’re destined for trial. We do this for two reasons:

  • First, building cases as if they’re going to trial means we build them in the most complete, thorough, and convincing manner possible. It’s not enough for us to convince the at-fault parties and insurers of liability—we also want to ensure that we can convince a judge and jury, too.
  • Second, building claims as if they’re going to trial means we don’t skip a beat if we actually need to escalate our clients’ cases to trial. The more prepared we are when a trial begins, the more likely we are to win and the sooner our clients can get the money they need.

We Will Advise You on Taking a Settlement vs. Going to Trial

When we build your car accident case, we’ll keep you up to date on everything that’s going on, including any and all settlement offers we’ve received on your behalf. Our lawyers work hard to calculate our clients’ damages, and we’ll advise you on whether a settlement offer is enough to pay for your current and future lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

If you and your lawyer agree that you need more money from the at-fault party or their insurer, we’ll keep negotiating—and that may result in going to trial. But if you think a settlement offer is enough money to cover your damages, you can accept it without needing to go to trial. However, it’s important to remember that settlements are one-and-done—once you accept, you can’t ask for more money later.

Call Our Ohio Car Accident Attorneys After a Crash

If you’re worried about going to trial after a crash that wasn’t your fault, know that statistics are on your side. With only around 3% of car accident cases ending at trial, the likelihood of you stepping foot in a courtroom are very low. However, going to court is worth it when it’s the difference between a lowball settlement (or even no settlement at all) and getting every penny you deserve for your damages.

At Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy, we aren’t afraid to go to trial to get our clients the money they’re owed, but we work hard to avoid trial whenever possible so our clients can get the money they need sooner. Our years of experience collecting evidence and skillfully negotiating with at-fault parties and insurers helps our clients get the money they deserve with minimal hassle and inconvenience.

We want you to focus on your recovery while we focus on getting you paid. Contact our Ohio car accident lawyers today for a free case review.

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