Most Illinois personal injury cases usually don’t go to trial. The main reason why is that neither side generally wants it. A courtroom battle is more expensive, stressful, and drawn out than negotiating a settlement. However, there are a few scenarios where your personal injury case may have to go to trial, or even where a trial may be the best option.
Three Reasons Why Some Personal Injury Cases Go To Trial Instead of Settling
1. Your Lawyer Thinks You’re Likely to Win at Trial
Your lawyer must consider which option could give you the most compensation possible in a reasonable amount of time. Settlements require each side to make compromises, meaning that you may receive less compensation than if you were to win at trial. If your lawyer believes your case is solid enough to win at trial, they might allow a lawsuit to proceed.
Remember that your legal team must adapt its strategy as the case proceeds. Suppose a lawyer is working to settle a case because they don’t believe a trial verdict would benefit their client the most. However, they find new evidence that overwhelmingly points to the defendant’s responsibility. If they think it would convince a jury, they may shift their strategy toward going to court to win greater compensation.
2. Both Sides Have Significant Disagreements
For settlement negotiations to be most productive, each side must have a similar understanding of the underlying facts. They should also have similar opinions on the monetary value of your accident-related losses.
It’s normal for the sides to have strong disagreements in the beginning. Your lawyer will try to approach negotiations with sufficient supporting evidence in hand. However, they may need additional information they can only obtain after filing a lawsuit. A deposition transcript or information from a subpoena can improve your leverage and pressure the defense to settle. If disagreements remain significant, your lawyer may decide that pursuing a verdict in court would be more productive than negotiations.
3. Negotiations Reach an Impasse for Other Reasons
While disagreements are the most common cause of impasses, there are other possible reasons why negotiations may not be successful. They include:
- Lowballing – An insurance company keeps making offers under the minimum amount you seek, even after your lawyer presents evidence showing the defendant’s liability.
- Ultimatums – An insurance company threatens to end negotiations if you don’t accept a mediocre offer.
- Interference – A defense attorney tries to interfere with your lawyer’s investigation. They may request information not relevant to your case, lie about the facts of the case, or refuse to provide your lawyer information.
- Failure to respond – Insurers must promptly respond to demand letters they receive. If an insurer responds late or doesn’t respond at all, your lawyer may decide to file the lawsuit.
In Illinois, insurers must act to resolve claims quickly and fairly. Your lawyer will strongly consider going to trial if a defense team is not cooperative during negotiations.
What Is a Trial Lawyer?
Trial lawyers focus on representing clients in the courtroom. They may have additional training and experience in any of the following areas:
- Investigative skills – Effective arguments must have compelling evidence to back them. Trial lawyers must determine what evidence they need to prove their client’s losses and the defendant’s liability. They must also understand the processes and procedures to obtain that evidence, whether through a friendly inquiry or a court order.
- Pretrial phases – Before a trial starts, your lawyer will gather evidence, consider opposing evidence, and work to ensure that if a jury hears your case, they are fair and impartial.
- Preparing statements – At the beginning of a trial, your lawyer’s opening statement will lay the groundwork for the evidence they’ll show the jury. Trial lawyers must also prepare closing arguments that support a proper legal conclusion.
- Working with testimony – A trial lawyer will question witnesses who support your claims before and during proceedings. They’ll also cross-examine the defense’s witnesses and experts to identify flaws in their case.
- Keeping the trial fair – If your lawyer believes that the defense asked a prohibited question or violated a procedural rule, they’ll submit motions or objections on your behalf.
Consult with a Chicagoland Personal Injury Trial Lawyer
If you were hurt in an accident, you might be entitled to recover medical costs, lost wages, and other damages from the responsible party. The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC have represented injured clients since 1970. We specialize in a wide variety of personal injury cases, such as automobile accidents, nursing home abuse cases, and product liability cases.
In a confidential consultation, our trial-prepared lawyers will guide you through your legal options and outline a strategy to fight for justice inside or outside the courtroom.