Do I Have to Go To Court If I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Many people are nervous about hiring a personal injury lawyer because they do not want to go to court. It’s true that having to testify in court can be a little scary. However, we have good news for you.
In our experience, a strong majority of personal injury claims do not finish with a trial. In fact, a good portion of personal injury claims can be settled without even filing a lawsuit.
Statistics on Settlements v. Trials
Data compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statics shows that only 3% of personal injury claims go to trial. Other studies confirm these findings. All studies show that less than 5% of personal injury claims require the injured person to go to court.
A slight majority of the personal injury claims that went to trial (52%) involved car accidents. The second most common type of personal injury claim to result in a trial (16%) were medical malpractice cases.
Does Filing a Lawsuit Mean I Have to Go to Court?
Many times we must file a lawsuit to get fair compensation. Insurance companies can make unreasonably low offers that do not cover medical expenses, loss of income, pain, and suffering. If such an offer is made in your claim, a lawsuit may be necessary.
However, filing a lawsuit does not mean you will have to go the court. The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled prior to trial.
Our Approach to Settling v. Filing Lawsuits
While there are exceptions, we generally do not file a lawsuit without first trying to reach a settlement. We understand most of our clients want the process settled in a timely manner. Lawsuits take time — in many instances, that can be multiple years.
To try to avoid litigation, we usually negotiate with an insurance company before running out and filing a lawsuit. We tell our clients whether a settlement offer is reasonable or not. However, we always leave the decision to our client as to whether accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit.
We do not force our clients to do anything. If our client wants to accept what we think is an unfair settlement offer, that is their choice to make. On the other hand, if our client wants to reject a fair settlement offer and pursue it in court, we generally abide by their decision.
What to Expect If You Do Have to Go to Court
If your claim falls into the 3% that results in a trial, you will have to testify before a jury. After all, you are the most important witness in your personal injury case.
You will explain to the jury how the incident happened, all about your medical treatment, and how the incident affected you. The insurance defense lawyer will then cross-examine you to try to do one or more of the following:
- undermine your credibility
- make it seem like you are exaggerating your injuries
- make it seem like some of your injuries pre-existed the incident
- or to make the argument that the incident was partially your fault
Let Us Tell You More
If you are hesitant about hiring a personal injury lawyer because you don’t want to go to court, feel free to call us. We can explain the process in more detail. We can also give you a better idea as to whether a lawsuit will be necessary in your particular claim.