Deciding whether to go to trial or settle depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Settlement is often the easiest and fastest solution for most cases. A car accident trial can be beneficial to get a fair judgment, expose the defendant’s actions, or simply have your day in court.

When Should a Case Go to Trial?

Sometimes it makes sense to go to trial, especially if your lawyer thinks you have a valuable case or the insurance company isn’t giving you a reasonable settlement offer.

When hiring a car accident attorney, make sure you are hiring someone who is a fighter. Even if your case doesn’t go to trial, and most do not, the credible threat of a trial is sometimes the difference between resolving your case for something you are happy with or having to take whatever the prosecutor gives you.

  1. You May Not Receive What You Deserve from the Defendant

The guilty party in your case may just refuse to accept responsibility. In receiving a successful outcome for your case, the guilty party will be held responsible for paying the judgment even if they don’t agree.

  1. No Defendant Will Admit Liability Without a Trial

Most settlement agreements don’t result in a liability admission. Even when the other party agrees to pay, they will not confess that they are to blame. By going to trial, a client can obtain a judgment of legal culpability against the defendant. Ultimately, a jury decides who is guilty or innocent and will determine whether the defendant is responsible for your injuries and damages.

  1. Allows Meaningful Closure for Your Ordeal

Bringing your case to trial could be a vital component of presenting your narrative and feeling satisfied in the results.

  1. Trials Provide a Chance to Show the Defendant’s Wrongdoing

A trial provides you with an open stage to reveal the defendant’s negligent behavior.

  1. It is Your Right to Settle Your Case or Go to a Trial

In the United States, you have the privilege to have a jury of your peers decide on a variety of legal issues. It’s up to you whether you’d like to make use of that privilege.

two men arguing after a car accident

Steps of a Car Accident Trial

If our car accident lawyers recommend going to trial to obtain the compensation that you deserve, they will explain what to expect from each phase of the court process. In general, a car accident trial will involve the following steps:

Discovery Phase

This is the phase before the trial when both parties have the chance to learn what the other knows. Discovery involves an exchange of information, typically through depositions or requests for evidence. It allows both parties to prepare for trial.

Jury Selection

Once the discovery phase is complete, the attorneys on both sides of the case will ask a panel of potential jurors a series of questions to find 12 suitable jury members.

Opening Statements

On the date of the car accident trial, it will begin with opening statements from both parties. The opening statement is a summary of what the attorney plans on proving throughout the trial.

Presentation of Evidence

During the next phase, there will be the presentation of evidence by both the plaintiff and the defendant. They will have the opportunity to present records, documents, eyewitnesses, expert testimony, and other forms of evidence to prove their cases.

Closing Arguments

Once all the evidence has been presented, both sides will give their closing arguments and discuss the evidence that was presented. They will try to persuade the jury to come to a certain conclusion.

Jury Deliberation and Verdict

The final stage of car accident trials involves the jury receiving its instructions and deliberating on whether the plaintiff met his or her burden of proof. If so, the plaintiff will be awarded financial compensation. If not, the defendant will be found not liable.

How Long Does a Personal Injury Trial Take?

One of the main reasons people don’t go to trial is that they are afraid of how long it will take. For those who have suffered severe injuries that require extensive medical care, they are going to need money to cover their medical expenses, especially if they are unable to work. While some trials may work their way through the legal system fairly quickly, especially with the help of an experienced attorney, there’s always a chance that the defendant and their lawyers will try to drag out the process. If you are looking for a certain amount of money or it’s difficult to prove negligence in your case, the trial could drag on for a year or even longer.

Cons of Going to Trial

Less Certainty

When a case goes to trial, there is no such certainty. Whether the trial is by judge or jury, the defendant may or may not be found to be at fault. This means that it is possible that an injury victim could go to trial and ultimately not receive any compensation.

Lack of Privacy

Trials are public; therefore, you will have a more difficult time maintaining your privacy during the process. This can be emotionally overwhelming for some individuals.

More Expensive

There is no guarantee about how much compensation you may be awarded. On top of this, the additional time and effort that a trial requires mean that the associated attorneys’ fees will be greater than in a settlement. The costs incurred by your legal team will be subtracted from any award amount. Because of this, you may end up receiving less money after these are deducted.

Takes Much Longer

Settlements typically take less time than going to trial. Cases that are straightforward could potentially be settled in a matter of months. That said, complex cases could take a year or longer to settle. In the case of a trial, there is a significant amount of time spent on pretrial preparation. This could take several months, a year, or even more.

Additional Emotional Distress

A trial is not easy and requires you to relive a difficult time in your life. It can cause you further emotional distress on top of what you are already struggling with as you recover from your injuries.

Take the Next Step With Parker Law Firm

If you were involved in a car accident and aren’t sure whether you need to settle or go to trial, contact a car accident attorney at Parker Law Firm. Our Texas personal injury lawyers will put in the time and effort to research your case thoroughly so you can receive a reasonable settlement.