Why Some Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial
Most personal injury lawsuits in Texas and around the country never go to trial. There’s no escaping the fact that trials can take longer and open everyone involved to undesired public scrutiny. However, there are some circumstances where a trial is necessary or even the best option. Today’s post will outline possible reasons why some cases go to trial.
Negotiations Are Not Successful
Settlement negotiations begin before your attorney files the lawsuit, though they may continue even after filing. Whether negotiations are direct or through a mediator, they frequently translate to a successful outcome. However, not every negotiation is productive, and not every insurance company will come to the table with a constructive attitude.
The insurer will likely make lowball offers initially, arguing that the compensation amount you’re asking for isn’t justified even if their client was responsible for your injuries. Their proposals may improve as your lawyer continues developing your case. However, your lawyer may allow the case to proceed to a trial if offers are consistently below the minimum amount you seek.
The Insurer Acts in Bad Faith
Another reason a case may go to trial is that the defense team acts in “bad faith” during negotiations. “Bad faith” behavior differs from state to state. In Texas, some examples of “statutory bad faith” include:
- Delaying or denying your claim despite clear evidence showing their customer’s liability
- Making false statements about facts of the case
- Misrepresenting their customer’s policy
- Making lowball settlement offers without saying why
- Denying a claim without saying why
- Failing to promptly respond to a claim or pay an agreed-upon settlement
- Refusing to provide the information your lawyer asks for, if reasonable
- Asking for irrelevant information to interfere with your lawyer’s investigation
A trial court may award you additional damages if your lawyer can prove that the insurer was acting in bad faith.
Your Lawyer Needs Additional Tools
Sometimes, a lawyer will need crucial evidence that they can only get through a court order. Filing a lawsuit begins a pretrial phase called “discovery,” which gives them extra case-building leverage. Your lawyer can ask the court for the following:
- Subpoenas – A subpoena mandates a party to provide evidence by a specific time. Your legal team may need a subpoena to access highly-protected forms of evidence, such as phone records, medical records, or government documents.
- Depositions – Depositions are essentially out-of-court testimony. Using a deposition, your lawyer can require witnesses or experts to answer questions under oath. A court reporter will be present to transcribe each response.
- Interrogatories – Interrogatories require someone to answer questions in writing. Like depositions, the witness must affirm their statements are factual under penalty of perjury.
Your Lawyer Thinks You’d Win at Trial
A skilled lawyer will not rush the case to a conclusion by insisting that a settlement is the only way forward. A settlement might be substantial enough to help you pay your expenses and restore some of your quality of life. However, both sides must make compromises to reach a settlement, meaning you could end up with less compensation than you would win after a favorable trial verdict.
Remember that a personal injury lawyer’s goal is to pursue the best possible outcome for their client. This includes holding the liable party accountable and fighting for the maximum reasonable award for your expenses and losses. If they determine your case is robust enough that you are likely to win at trial, they may pursue a jury verdict rather than a settlement.
What Is a Trial Lawyer?
After an attorney passes the bar and enters practice, they may use their continuing education to become a better courtroom advocate. These trial lawyers know the tactics necessary to fight for you before a judge or jury.
- Investigating accidents and identifying liable parties
- Building arguments, evidence, and statements to present in court
- Navigating pretrial phases, including discovery and jury selection
- Identifying and questioning witnesses and experts for you, the plaintiff
- Cross-examining witnesses and experts for the defense
- Filing motions on your behalf
- Identifying and objecting to improper questions or conduct by the defense team
Contact a Texas Trial Lawyer
With a skilled trial lawyer by your side, you’ll have the best chance of winning the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and decreased quality of life. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we offer free case evaluations for our clients to learn more about their legal options after a negligent party injures them. Call our office today at 512-580-8334 to speak with one of our Texas personal injury attorneys