The Risks and Benefits of Going to Trial in a Personal Injury Case

By Peter DePaolis

Litigation is risky because it is impossible to predict what a jury or judge will decide on a specific case. You might feel strongly that they should decide in your favor, but you do not have control over what they do. Some people grab the first settlement offer they receive out of fear of getting nothing if they go to trial.

This article will discuss the risks and benefits of going to trial in a personal injury case. You can talk to a DC personal injury attorney about the risks and benefits of trial versus settlement in your case. Every personal injury case is different.

The Risk of Uncertainty

Some people are gamblers, and some are not. If you would lose sleep countless nights while your personal injury case is pending, you will want to talk to your lawyer about that. If the defendant already made an offer that you find acceptable, let your lawyer know. This situation falls under the saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

There might be an unexpected development in the trial preparation or at trial that could blow the case wide open. You do not want to be in the situation of holding out for a little bit more, only to lose everything.

The Time Value of Money

Settling your personal injury case can get the compensation in your hands much earlier than going to trial. Taking your case to trial can add a year or two or longer to the length of your case. Court calendars can get backed up. Even when you get a trial date, it could get postponed multiple times.

Getting A Fair Amount of Compensation for Your Injuries

Sometimes, the insurance company will call your bluff or simply put you through the wringer because they can. They want to hold on to their money as long as possible because they invest that money to make some of their profits. They might offer pennies on the dollar in hopes that you will give up or be desperate for money to pay your medical bills and other losses.

In those situations, the insurance company forces your hand. You might hate the idea of having to go to trial, especially if you do not like stress or confrontation. Still, the only chance you have of getting a fair amount of compensation for your injuries is to have a trial.

Negotiations Can Continue After Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

The lawyers can keep trying to settle the case after you file a lawsuit. Most cases settle out of court before the trial starts or “on the courtroom steps.” It is not unusual for a personal injury case to settle after a deposition or during the trial. 

Without filing the lawsuit, however, the settlement would not have happened at all, or you would have had to accept a lowball offer. When the claims adjuster or insurance defense attorney decides to play hardball, the plaintiff has to work much harder than they should have to just to get fair compensation for getting injured due to someone else’s negligence.

This technique, however, can backfire on the insurance company. The jury might get angry that the defendant’s insurer refused to pay a fair settlement and made the jurors disrupt their schedules because of the insurer’s greed. The jury could reach a verdict that is much more than even the plaintiff expected to receive. A DC personal injury attorney can fight your battles, whether they involve negotiating a settlement or taking your case to trial. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.