What Is the Likelihood My Case Will Go to Trial?


After you’re injured in an accident, you may wonder whether your case will go to trial. In about 95% of personal injury cases, the parties are able to settle without going to trial. However, there are a number of factors that can influence a decision to go to trial or not.

The personal injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group have experience helping victims get the compensation they deserve, whether it is through negotiation, settlement, or going to trial. If you suffered from a personal injury, call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with our trial attorneys.

Will My Case Go to Trial?

Every case is unique, and while the majority of cases will not go to trial, there will be some situations where the parties are unable to come to an agreement and a trial is necessary. Prior to going to trial, the parties will usually negotiate and attempt to come to a settlement agreement. A trial can be expensive, risky, and take time. It can be a long process that parties may not want to pursue if there is an alternative. However, in some cases, a trial may be unavoidable. Below are a few reasons why a case may or may not go to trial.  

Reasons a Case May Go to Trial

Before cases go to trial, the parties usually attempt to negotiate and settle several times, but are unable to reach an agreement. While there are a number of reasons that a case may go to trial, a few common reasons include:

Low or No Settlement Offer

In some cases, an insurance company may offer a low settlement or no settlement offer at all. Insurance companies operate to pay as little as possible, and when that operational model harms victims, it may be necessary to go to trial to get the compensation they deserve. For example, if a victim sustains serious injuries in a car crash and the defendant’s insurance company doesn’t offer an amount to cover the hospital bills and ongoing medical care that will be required, a trial may be necessary. 

Insurers Are Afraid of Setting a Precedent

In other cases, insurance companies may be afraid of setting a settlement precedent. For example, if you’re injured in a work accident and offered $50,000 by your employer and their insurance company, they may be afraid that if other employees are injured and know how much their employer is willing to pay, the employee may demand the same amount. To avoid this, employers may prefer to take their chances in the courtroom.

Holding Individuals Responsible for Their Actions

There may also be cases where a victim does not want to accept a settlement as a matter of principle. When parties come to a settlement agreement, the defendant does not need to admit that the accident was their fault. In some cases, victims may not feel the need to hold the other party responsible, but in others, this may be non-negotiable for victims. For example, if a drunk driver hits a pedestrian and seriously injures them, the victim may feel that it is more important for the driver to be held accountable for their actions than reaching an agreement where the driver will not need to admit fault.

Reasons a Case May Not Go to Trial

A case may not go to trial for several reasons, but it usually occurs because the parties have negotiated and recognize that an agreement may be beneficial to both parties. While there are a number of reasons that a case may not go to trial, a few common reasons include:

The Strength of Your Case

In some personal injury cases, both parties know who caused the accident and the facts are mostly agreed upon and straightforward. In these cases, the defendant may recognize that they are responsible for your injuries and it does not make sense to go through the time and expenses of a trial when both parties can agree on a settlement. Likewise, if your case feels more uncertain, going to trial can be a risk, because you may not recover any compensation. In these situations, a settlement can also be beneficial and minimize the risks of going to court.

It’s Cheaper

The longer a lawsuit goes on, the more expensive it becomes. In many cases, both parties will be able to save money if they agree to a settlement. This helps avoid attorney’s fees and court costs, which are usually more expensive if a case goes to trial.

It Saves Time

The entire trial process can take months or even years. It takes time to investigate the case, file with the court, exchange information, attempt to come to a settlement, prepare for the trial, and actually hold the trial. If a party is unhappy with the result of the trial, they may sometimes be able to appeal the case and the process begins all over. Although these are rare cases, they do happen, and they can take a significant amount of time to resolve. Because of this long time period, in many cases, the parties would rather save time and come to an agreement.

The Settlement is Fair

When a settlement is fair, it may make more sense to accept the offer if it is similar to the compensation you could earn by going to trial. When both parties recognize that they can save time and money if an agreement is reached, this can help negotiations and may encourage a defendant to offer a fair settlement amount and avoid court.

Factors to Consider when Accepting or Rejecting a Settlement Offer

Deciding whether to accept a settlement offer or go to trial can be a difficult decision. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you navigate the decision, but some of the factors that each person may need to consider include:

Extent of Your Injuries

In some cases, there may be minor injuries, such as whiplash after a car accident. In other cases, an accident may leave victims paralyzed and require extensive surgeries, rehabilitation, and significant life changes for victims and their loved ones. The severity of your injuries will have to be weighed and considered with the cost of treatment and future medical expenses.

Medical Treatment and Future Expenses

If you were injured in an accident and your injuries have been completely healed, with no long-lasting effects, you may have bills and know the exact total costs of your injuries. If a settlement offer includes the cost of your hospital bills, rehabilitation bills, and related medical expenses, it might make sense to accept the offer. However, in cases where you are still recovering from your injuries and may not even know the full extent of future medical expenses, it may be more difficult to come to a settlement amount.

Lost Wages

Victims may be compensated for the time taken off work to recover from their injuries. A fair settlement offer may include the amount of money that a victim would have been paid if they weren’t injured and able to work during the time they were recovering from their injury.

Future Income and Earning Capacity

When victims are seriously injured and unable to work or be employed in their former positions, it can cause a huge financial strain on their expected earnings. However, the potential earnings that an individual would have made throughout their career can be calculated and provide parties with a close estimate of what a victim would have earned. This number can be used in negotiations and settlements to help demonstrate the amount of money a victim could have earned if they had not been injured.

Current Financial Needs

After an accident, you may be unable to work and faced with several hospital and medical bills. Each victim’s financial situation is different, but in many cases, if a victim decides to go to trial, it may be a while until there is a verdict. Even then, there is no guarantee that the judge or jury will award any compensation. For this reason, a settlement is less risky and can offer victims money much faster than a trial.

Emotional Toll

Because cases that go to trial take longer, victims will have to continue to relive their accident and explain what happened. For some, this can be traumatic and distressing. Additionally, when trials take months or years to conclude, victims may need to wait longer to feel a sense of closure. The emotional toll that a trial may take on victims can make a settlement offer more attractive.

Sympathy of Judges and Juries

If you decide to reject a settlement offer and go to trial, your case will end up before a judge and/or jury. Ultimately, these will be the people deciding if you will receive compensation, and if so, the amount you deserve. Your specific case and the facts surrounding it can sway the jury in some cases to award more or less money. Each case is unique, and a trial lawyer may be able to help you decide how your case will look to the jury.

Contact Our Injury Attorneys

At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys are ready to help negotiate a settlement or go to trial to ensure that victims have the best options in their case available. Our lawyers have helped many victims who suffered from a personal injury seek the compensation they deserve.

We believe a victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

If you’re wondering whether you should go to trial after an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. Check out our blog for more helpful resources.

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