The good news is that most personal injury cases settle without filing a personal injury lawsuit. Even personal injury claims that result in a lawsuit could settle before going to trial. Lawsuits are often settled during the discovery phase or through mediation.
Our personal injury attorneys work diligently to obtain a settlement offer that provides maximum compensation for your personal injury case. We want you to receive the compensation you deserve for your injury claim. Therefore, we are willing to take a case to trial if that is in your best interest.
Each case is different. The circumstances and facts of your case might necessitate filing a lawsuit to get you the most money for your injuries and damages. On the other hand, the facts of your case could make it risky to take the case before a jury.
Throughout your personal injury case, our attorneys will continually evaluate to determine whether going to trial gives you the best chance of success.
Factors That Impact Whether Your Personal Injury Case Settles or Goes to Trial
Many factors could impact whether your case settles or goes to trial. Some of the factors that might apply in your case include, but are not necessarily limited to:
The Insurance Company
Settling an injury claim with an insurance company can be challenging. The insurance company calculates the cost of going to court versus the cost of settlement and generally chooses the least expensive option. However, some insurance companies may use unfair tactics or illegal practices to avoid paying a claim. In those cases, it might be necessary to go to trial.
The Amount of Your Damages
Damages in a personal injury case may include economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and long-term care. You may also recover compensation for your pain and suffering (non-economic) damages. Examples of the types of damages you might be entitled to receive include:
- The cost of medical care and treatment, including hospitalizations, therapies, doctors’ bills, and in-home health care
- The cost of personal care and assistance with household chores
- Past and future lost wages and benefits
- Reduction in future earning potential
- Emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical pain and suffering
- Disfigurement, impairments, and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life and decreased quality of life
If your damages are low, the insurance company may determine that it is better to settle your case than to spend money on a trial. However, if you have substantial damages and the insurance company believes they can win, they may roll the dice with a trial.
Questions of Liability
Most personal injury claims in Texas are based on negligence.
For a negligence claim to be successful, you must prove:
- The party in question owed you a duty of care
- That party breached the duty of care
- The breach was a direct and proximate cause of your injury
- You sustained damages as a result of the party’s conduct
The party is only liable if you can prove all four elements of a negligence claim. Therefore, you must have evidence proving each element. If the insurance company does not believe you will be able to prove your claim, it may push for a trial.
Insufficient Insurance Coverage
In some cases, there may be insufficient insurance coverage to pay a claim in full. For example, a car accident claim is worth $500,000, but the at-fault driver has minimum coverage of $30,000. So the most the insurance company would be liable to pay for your claim is $30,000.
If you have underinsured motorist coverage, you could receive additional compensation from your insurance provider. However, you might still need to sue the at-fault driver to obtain a personal judgment.
Whether to go to trial to obtain a personal judgment is a case-by-case decision. For example, the person may not have sufficient assets or income to pay a personal judgment. In that case, it might not be worth going to trial. Our car accident lawyers carefully analyze the situation and give you an honest assessment of your case.
The Parties Involved in the Case
In some cases, the parties involved in the case determine whether the matter goes to trial. Some large corporations may be willing to spend the money and time it takes to go to trial to defend a product liability claim. For example, large trucking companies may aggressively defend truck accident claims in court to avoid large settlements.
Factors That Impact the Settlement Amount of Your Personal Injury Claim
When you go to trial, the jury decides whether you are entitled to compensation for your damages. The jury members also decide how much money you receive for damages.
However, you and the at-fault party negotiate a settlement amount when you settle a personal injury claim. In most cases, the insurance company for the at-fault party handles the negotiations because it pays the claim.
Numerous factors could impact how much your personal injury claim is worth. Factors that impact a claim include:
- The cost of your medical care and treatment
- The cost of personal care or in-home health care
- Whether you will have future medical bills or require ongoing personal care or nursing care
- The severity and extent of your injuries
- The amount of your lost wages, benefits, and other income
- Your age, education, and general health
- The limits of the insurance policy
- The strength of the evidence proving fault against the other party
- Whether you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury
In most cases, severe injuries and permanent disabilities increase the value of a personal injury claim. However, contributing to the cause of the accident decreases the amount of money you might receive for an injury claim.
The jurisdiction where your case would be heard could also impact settlement negotiations. Insurance companies carefully monitor the outcome of personal injury trials to determine how jurors might decide similar cases.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can also impact settlement negotiations. Insurance companies track the records for accident attorneys in Houston. As a result, they know which lawyers take cases to trial versus attorneys who always settle their cases.
Our lawyers analyze each factor carefully and work to minimize those that could lower the value of your claim while maximizing the factors that increase the value of your injury claim.
Contact Our Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Your best interests are our top priority. Contact our office online or call (817) 420-7000 to schedule a free consultation with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer at Stephens Law Firm, PLLC. They can offer legal advice, support, and guidance as you seek justice for the tragic accident that caused your injuries and financial losses.