After accidents and injuries that weren’t their fault, there are many reasons why all victims don’t immediately reach out to lawyers.
It may be because they don’t think they need a lawyer to help them. Or it could be because they don’t think they’re eligible for compensation—they may not even know it’s an option. But some people know about injury settlements and that they need a lawyer to help them get one, and they’re still reluctant to call because they don’t want to go to court.
The idea of “going to trial” for something like a car accident can seem intimidating, but it’s rarely necessary. Most personal injury claims settle out of court because that is what’s best not just for victims but also for insurance companies. Both parties benefit from avoiding the court costs and the resources required to go to trial. However, sometimes claims do go to trial, and here are a few reasons why it happens.
The Insurance Company Refuses to Pay a Fair Settlement
The most common reason for a personal injury claim to go to court is because the insurance company won’t pay the victim a fair settlement. Most of the time, our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers can negotiate with insurance companies to get our clients maximum compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
But when negotiation fails and insurance companies refuse to pay fairly or at all, we don’t hesitate to take them to court. Going to court takes the decision to pay a settlement out of their hands and places it instead in the hands of a judge and jury. The jury will review all the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and decide whether to award the victim damages and how much money they should get.
The Insurance Company Doesn’t Want to Set a Precedent
When an accident, injury, or illness affects many people, the insurance company representing the at-fault party may prefer to try their luck in a trial rather than pay a settlement. That’s because paying one settlement could mean setting a precedent for paying additional settlements in the future.
In cases like these, insurance companies are hoping for a favorable verdict for themselves or even a small award to the victim so that they can avoid paying large settlements to more parties in the future.
In circumstances like these, your lawyer can advise you on whether it’s best to try for a settlement or go to court.
The Case’s Complexity Means It Needs to Be Heard in Court
Sometimes, the facts and circumstances surrounding a case are difficult to prove or even explain in a standard personal injury claim. A trial gives both sides a more formal opportunity to make their case about what happened and why they should receive the verdicts and outcomes they desire.
For example, if a case has multiple contradictory witness statements, seemingly implausible events, or requires the explanation of several expert witnesses and accident reconstruction experts, going to trial may be a likely outcome. That’s because both sides may be unable to agree on an out-of-court settlement due to the sheer complexity of the case.
There’s a Chance of Being Awarded Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are additional damages awarded to victims in addition to their economic (medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. But unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages aren’t designed to compensate victims. Instead, they are designed to punish at-fault parties when they harm others due to extreme recklessness or malice, such as in drunk driving crashes.
The only way to obtain punitive damages is through a trial. They aren’t awarded when claims settle out of court, and they must be ordered by a jury. The more egregious the at-fault party’s actions were—and the more harm they caused the victim—the more money can and should be awarded via punitive damages.
Trust Our Experience Both in and Out of the Courtroom
As experienced trial lawyers who build fact- and evidence-based claims, we have a strong track record of success in the courtroom. We work hard to avoid unnecessarily going to trial to help our clients get the money they’re owed as quickly and easily as possible. Also, we aren’t afraid to go to trial because we know that going to trial is often the best or only way to get our clients maximum compensation.
We’re supremely confident in our ability to convince juries to side with us and our clients. If you were hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the legal team at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers is here to help. Whether the insurance company cooperates or refuses to pay, you’ll have peace of mind knowing we’re handling your claim.