Why Most Car Accident Cases Never Go to Trial
In the work that defense attorneys do, car accident cases hold a special stigma: they almost never make it to trial. And, if one does ever make it through the system, it’s usually a sign that something’s gone wrong.
If you thought that finding a lawyer for car accident injury services in a courtroom setting was difficult, there’s a reason for that. Traffic accident lawyers and insurance companies view court trials as the last stop on this particular legal bus ride. And they’ll take any steps necessary to get off the bus before ever having to bring a case in front of a judge.
And why is that? Join us today as we take a closer look.
What Is The Jury’s Job?
It’s a simple fact when it comes to the legal system that most people don’t want to have to appear in court, even if they stand to win from appearing. We can’t be sure of which way the jury is going to turn, which is stressful. After all, this is a collection of 12 men and women all with their own beliefs, attitudes, and unpredictabilities. Sometimes they’ll act in ways you can predict. Other times, not so much.
This could happen for any given reason. Jurors are about as aware as any other man on the street, and we all grew up hearing the story of the women suing McDonald’s over burning hot coffee. They read or watch shows about plaintiffs who make money working against the court system. They imagine they’ve got it all figured out.
If you give other juries, especially juries in other cities, counties or states, the same facts, you’ll end up with a variety of results. Trial attorneys select juries, and it’s a tough job because they only get access to so many people. Often, these professionals will be left with some hard decisions as to who’s getting added, and why. Juries can make or break a trial, and the difficult part is that there’s a certain amount of choosing one that you can’t control or predict.
A Car Accident Attorney Understand A Case’s Value
Assuming that lawyers and insurers have been in business for some time, another reason they may want to avoid trial is that they know better. More specifically, they know or can determine the value of the injury case fairly comfortably.
An expert will know what a dislocated hip is worth, or how much you might expect to pay for a separated shoulder. Soft tissue damage, pain, and treatments such as chiropractic treatment can worsen the situation. But professional lawyers and insurance representatives should be able to get value for injuries. And they’ll often know how to do it without setting foot in a courtroom.
Trial Fees Don’t Always Add Up
Cash is another reason most car accident cases are not tried. A trial is an expensive proposition, especially when a professional has to get involved. The cost may actually even get out of the attorney’s control, though most of us fail to realize that.
By settling, both parties take back control over what happens to them. But it’s a trade-off. You’ll all save on the costs of a lengthy trial, but this shuts the door on huge potential settlements if you were to take it to court. For an assured payout, however, most lawyers and mediators are happy to forego the trial.
Insurers Want to Settle
When you sue another driver in most car accidents, they typically don’t pay any money out of their own pockets. You know who does pay, though? The defendant’s auto insurance company. As a rule, these companies will try to wrap this case up in the quickest, least painful way possible for everyone involved, especially them. And, when they follow the rules, there’s a lot they can accomplish.
Something to note is that, while it is definitely in the insurance company’s best interests to settle quickly, it honestly may not be in yours. The insurance company isn’t going to overpay you, after all. You may not think so to hear them talk about it, but their goal is, many times, to pay as little as possible and close the claim.
All of which is to say, it’s important to understand the full scope of your losses and how much you’ll be getting compensated, before signing anything. Don’t agree to a settlement until your insurance company levels with you in a way that seems fair and makes you feel comfortable, not like a nuisance.
The Question of Opposition
When you get right down to it, you really should go to trial only if one party in the case can’t agree with the other. If a claims coordinator fails to get approval for a large enough payment, it doesn’t matter if the attorney thinks the agreement is right. There will be no agreement.
If the attorney thinks the plaintiff is unreasonable or all talk, you won’t be able to reach an agreement. If the plaintiff’s attorney believes the defense is under-offering, or that they are just not taking the plaintiff seriously, they will encourage the plaintiff not to accept the settlement.
Finally, where the plaintiff feels they deserve more money than is realistic, they actually can’t be stopped from going to trial. Just as no car accident lawyer can prevent the plaintiff from pursuing the case, if the parties can’t agree, the trial will proceed.
Will Your Car Accident Claim Make It To Trial?
A car accident is a traumatic time for more of us. We have to become experts in automotive law and be completely caught up on how a court case will play out. Then we’ve got to make decisions based on that knowledge, which could affect our compensation and overall recovery.
The bottom line? A settlement is often the most efficient way to dispose of a car accident lawsuit. This is true whether it’s the plaintiff, the defendant, or a car accident personal injury lawyer and the insurers themselves. It’s a way of cutting out the middleman, saving time and resources, and stopping unpleasant surprises before they ever have a chance to happen.
For more great law content, from automotive law to workplace and personal injuries, check out our blog section, or get in touch with us today!