Navigating the legal system after a personal injury can be overwhelming, and one question that often arises is whether or not a case will go to trial. As Little Rock personal injury attorneys, we understand the uncertainty and stress that can come with this process and are here to help guide you through it.
In this blog post, we will discuss the factors that determine whether or not a personal injury case will go to trial and what you can expect during the process.
Factors That Determine if a Case Will Go to Trial
A personal injury case is more likely to go to trial if:
- The defendant is not willing to pay an amount the plaintiff thinks is fair for the harm he/she suffered.
- The defendant denies liability or questions any part of the plaintiff’s claim, like the severity of the injuries, the plaintiff’s medical bills or lost wages, or any alleged impairment from the accident.
- When the dollar amount sought is high, the defendant is more likely to force the case to trial and hope for a conservative jury.
Settling out of court is often an option and provides for a quicker resolution of your claim than going to trial. Sometimes, people think they will get less money if they settle than if they go to trial, but litigation is unpredictable, so it’s possible to end up with less money at trial or receive nothing at all.
What to Expect if Your Case Goes to Trial
If your case goes to trial, your attorney will have to present evidence to prove all the allegations of your case, like the negligence of the defendant and the injuries caused by that negligence. The lawyers will make opening statements at the beginning of the trial. Each side’s lawyer gets a chance to have witnesses testify and submit documents and other evidence to the judge and jury. Following closing arguments by the lawyers, the jury will deliberate to determine the outcome.
Alternatives to Going to Trial
There are other ways to resolve your case if it does not settle and you do not want to go to trial. Two of the most common forms of alternative dispute resolution are:
- Mediation. The parties can hire a mediator, who is an unbiased third party, to help the parties try to resolve their disputes amicably outside of court. The mediator does not take sides or issue any decisions or orders. If the parties settle their case, a judge might have to approve the settlement. If the parties do not settle, the case will have to go to trial for a resolution. If successful, mediation can save the parties money on legal fees. If the parties try mediation and still have to go to trial, the expenses could be greater than if they had gone directly to trial.
- Arbitration. Arbitrations are similar to trials, but less formal and usually not enforceable to the same extent as a judge’s decision in a trial. The parties argue their cases to an unbiased third party, the arbitrator. Some arbitrations are binding, and some are non-binding. Usually, with either type, the parties have a right to go to court if they are not happy with the arbitrator’s decision. Unlike mediation, the arbitrator listens to the evidence presented by both sides and then the arbitrator makes a decision. Arbitrations can be as expensive as going to trial. If the parties go through arbitration and then go to trial, the total expenses could be higher than if the parties had gone directly to trial. If arbitration is successful, however, the parties can get a quicker resolution than with a trial and, sometimes, at less cost.
Don’t Go It Alone
We understand that the thought of going to trial for a personal injury case can be overwhelming and stressful. It’s important to remember that you have rights and that you are not alone in this process.
We are here to guide you through the process and help you understand your options. Whether it’s negotiating a settlement, going to trial, or exploring alternative dispute resolution methods, we will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.