Posted on Sunday, October 1st, 2023 at 9:00 am
Do personal injury lawyers go to court? Rarely. Data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that as many as 96 percent of personal injury cases may end in out-of-court settlements.
Seeking compensation in a Chicago personal injury case involves filing an insurance claim. If you sustained injuries due to another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you’d file a claim with their insurer. You may file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if your injuries are work-related.
Either scenario will likely involve negotiating with an insurance company for a fair settlement. Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses. They aren’t inclined to pay you the total amount of compensation you deserve.
This is just one reason you should hire a lawyer. A personal injury attorney who understands insurance adjusters’ tactics can negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
That’s not to say personal injury cases never go to court. In some instances, going to trial is the best option. The following are common reasons a lawyer might decide seeking compensation in court is the best strategy:
The Insurance Company is Lowballing a Claimant
A personal injury lawyer’s job is to fight for the best settlement they can get for their client. For various reasons, though, insurance companies are sometimes unwilling to offer appropriate settlement amounts.
Your attorney may recommend going to trial in this scenario. They might do so if they have strong reason to believe you will win your case.
Public Accountability is Necessary
Negotiating for an out-of-court settlement is usually a private process. Thus, a negligent party may avoid public accountability when an injured party settles their case.
Going to court may be a decision you and your lawyer make if you believe the defendant engaged in reprehensible behavior or acted maliciously. If the party responsible for your injuries was extremely careless, a trial can shine a light on their actions. The effect of this may be to deter them from engaging in similar actions in the future.
Juries also sometimes award punitive damages in cases of malicious acts or reckless behavior that fails to consider the safety and well-being of others. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the compensation you may receive for specific losses. A jury may award punitive damages to punish a defendant for their egregious misconduct.
The Insurance Company Doesn’t Want to Set a Precedent
Insurance companies sometimes refuse to pay claimants at all. An insurer may not pay your claim because they fear doing so would establish a precedent. They might worry that if they pay your claim, they will invite similar claims in the future.
The fact that an insurance company denied your claim doesn’t mean you’re not eligible for compensation. If a lawyer thinks you have a valid case, they may recommend going to trial in these circumstances.
An Attorney Wants to Put Pressure on an Insurance Company
Do personal injury lawyers go to court even if they think they can still negotiate for an out-of-court settlement? Sometimes.
It’s still possible to settle a case out of court even after filing a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit and preparing to go to court may be a strategy an attorney employs during negotiations.
For example, maybe it appears an insurance company isn’t taking a case seriously. Perhaps they’re dragging out the process in the hopes that you’ll settle for less than you deserve.
Perhaps yours is a very strong case. Maybe your lawyer thinks your odds of winning at trial are quite high. They might believe the insurance company and negligent party also know you’d likely win in court.
If so, they may file a lawsuit as a means of putting pressure on the insurance company or defendant. An insurer may be more likely to offer a fair settlement if they see you’re willing to go to trial to fight for what you deserve.
Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
Negotiating for an out-of-court settlement is often preferable to going to trial. During negotiations, you can exercise more control over a settlement. You give up control when you let a judge or jury decide whether you deserve compensation.
However, there are circumstances in which going to court is necessary and advisable. At Wallace Miller, our goal is to secure the best possible settlement for you. If our Illinois personal injury lawyers conclude that going to trial is necessary in your case, they’ll discuss the topic with you in detail at that time.