A small number of personal injury cases require court proceedings. Many settle during negotiations with the insurance company or the opposing party to a lawsuit before trial.
However, every personal injury case is unique. Predicting whether your case will go to court is impossible. You must consider the circumstances of the accident and other factors to determine whether settling outside of court is possible.
For example, settling with the insurance carrier during a claim might be more likely if it’s clear that the policyholder is liable for the incident. Agreeing on an amount of money, though, is a different story. You might be unable to negotiate an adequate dollar despite the other party’s clear liability. In that situation, you will likely need to file a lawsuit and take your case to court to recover fair compensation.
Here you will learn why some personal injury cases go to court and why insurance carriers often settle during the claims process.
Why Would an Insurance Company Prefer a Settlement Over Going to Court?
Insurance carriers often prefer to settle a claim outside of court whenever possible. Although their goal is to avoid a significant payout, settling is a far better option than litigation.
Lawsuits require more money. That means the insurance company must pay for expenses such as court costs and legal fees. It can be much more expensive than settling.
Resolving the matter with an insurance claim might lead to a $50,000 settlement, but it allows the insurance company to avoid paying trial lawyers. Also, it takes away the risk of an unfavorable trial outcome. If the insurance company loses at trial, it must pay case-related fees and costs plus the financial award to the plaintiff, which can be much more than the settlement amount would have been.
A settlement is also more beneficial for an insurance carrier if it doesn’t dispute liability. The adjuster might review the claim and realize the policyholder is at fault for the accident. They know the odds of winning at trial are greatly reduced. Settling is often the best solution to prevent insurance companies from paying more.
Reasons Personal Injury Cases Go to Court
Numerous factors can indicate whether a personal injury case might proceed to court, such as:
- Insurer acting in bad faith – Sometimes, insurance carriers make innocent mistakes that negatively affect someone’s claim. However, there are situations when an insurance company purposely acts in bad faith. That means they intentionally do something to delay the claims process unnecessarily, misrepresent insurance coverage, unfairly deny a claim, or make a decision without an investigation. Taking your case to court can force the insurance company to meet the required standards and pay what they owe you.
- Failed negotiations – You might negotiate a settlement with the insurance company without ever filing a lawsuit. If you do litigate your case, you can still negotiate with the opposing party until the judge or jury enters a decision. However, you must still litigate your case if those negotiations are unsuccessful.
- Unsuccessful mediation – Mediation is often valuable in lawsuits. The judge might order mediation before trial, or you and the defendant might agree to schedule one voluntarily. Either way, failed attempts at resolving the case during mediation mean going to court is necessary.
- Liability disputes – The insurance carrier might disagree with you about who is liable for the accident. If the insurance company thinks you are at fault for your injury, it often leads to a lawsuit and subsequent court proceedings. The defense attorney could find evidence to contradict your story about how the incident occurred. Whatever the reason, arguments over liability can prevent settling outside of court.
- Defense attorney’s beliefs about winning – The defendant’s lawyer might believe they can win. Instead of attempting to negotiate a settlement, they encourage their client to proceed with the lawsuit because they think they have sufficient evidence to disprove your case.
- The settlement demand is too high – Wanting adequate compensation for your medical treatment and other expenses is understandable. However, the opposing party might disagree with your calculations for the value of your case. Going to court seems beneficial to them because they might convince the judge or jury that your demands are unreasonable.
Get Help from an Experienced Charleston Personal Injury Lawyer
You should never pursue legal action without hiring a personal injury attorney. Crantford Meehan has experience fighting insurance companies and defense lawyers. We know how to hold negligent parties accountable for the harm they cause. You can also hire us if you are dissatisfied with your current lawyer and want to switch attorneys.
If you got hurt in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call us at [phone-number linked=true] for a free consultation today. Let us help you seek the justice you deserve.