Many personal injury claims end up settling outside of court, but just because this practice is common, it does not mean it will be your outcome. How likely a case is to be settled or moved to trial is based on various factors. If you have plans to file a claim and you are curious about what your process might look like, learn about some of the factors that determine how an injury claim is handled.
Types of Injuries
Some injuries are easy to diagnose and link to a specific event, such as a slip and fall. However, some complex injuries are not as straightforward. When a victim sustains injuries that are severe, that have exacerbated a previous injury, or that require extensive expertise in explaining their degree, a trial might be a better option as it provides an opportunity to present the facts to a judge or jury.
Cases with high-value economic damages are also commonly handled in a trial. Non-economic damages are those losses you cannot put a specific dollar amount on, such as pain and suffering or an injury that has caused someone to have fertility issues. Unfortunately, insurance companies will often try to provide compensation for these losses at the lowest amount possible, so you may need to go to trial to ensure you receive the maximum amount you are entitled to.
Sadly, some people walk away from personal injury events forever changed. They are left with injuries that will remain with them for the remainder of their lives. People in this category will often have their cases settled in court due to the long-term impact their injuries present and, thus, the increased value of their claim. A person needing extensive medical therapy or treatment might fall into this category.
A personal injury claim might also end up in a courtroom if both parties have gone through extensive negotiations. In any case, it is normal for both parties to go back and forth to reach an agreed-upon amount. However, when either party is unwilling to budge, or one party is offering or seeking an unreasonable amount, a case can end up in front of a judge. Cases that meet this threshold often include some of the above-mentioned factors, such as non-economic damages or extensive injuries.
Every case is different, so two people with similar circumstances could have their claims handled differently. Consult with a personal injury attorney to better understand how your case might be settled.