Imagine you’ve been in a car accident. Your car is damaged, you’re experiencing physical pain, and you’re burdened with medical bills you can’t afford. The idea of pursing legal action crosses your mind, but the prospect of going to court fills you with apprehension. Rest assured, you’re not alone in feeling this way. Many people wonder whether their personal injury case will go to trial. However, the truth is that most of these cases are resolved long before they ever reach a jury.
How many Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial?
It’s a common misconception that all personal injury cases usually end up in court. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 4% of personal injury cases go to trial nationally. That’s right—just 4%. So, what happens to the other 96%? Let’s explore more.
Why Most Personal Injury Cases Don’t Go to Trial
The majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of court, and there are several key reasons for this. First, both parties often aim for a quicker, less costly resolution.
Second, the unpredictability of trial outcomes can be daunting. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendant can be certain of a win, and both sides are exposed to significant risk financial, reputational, and time loss. This uncertainty often propels parties toward negotiation and settlement.
Additionally, insurance companies, which are often key players in personal injury cases, generally prefer out-of-court settlements. Trials are not only expensive but also risky, as a loss could result in a substantial payout. Insurance companies, by their nature, are in the business of minimizing risk. A jury trial is oftentimes the biggest risk an insurance company wants to avoid.
Lastly, the court system itself tends to encourage settlements. Judges often have busy court calendars, with the majority of their cases being criminal hearings. Thus, Judges oftentimes Order mediation (i.e formal settlement discussions) before allowing a case to proceed to trial.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases More Likely to Go to Trial
While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, some case types are more likely to go to trial. These often include:
U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/tbjtsc05.pdf
- Car accidents involving severe injuries or fatalities;
- Medical malpractice cases;
- Premises liability cases, such as slip and falls (Georgia law heavily favors the property/premises owner);
- Product liability cases, especially those involving defective medical devices or pharmaceuticals
While other types of cases may also go to trial, these cases often involve complex issues of fact or law, making them less conducive to quick settlements.
The Georgia Legal Landscape
In Georgia, certain laws and regulations can influence whether a personal injury case goes to trial. For instance, Georgia follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule, which means that a plaintiff can still recover damages even if they are partially at fault, as long as their fault is less than 50%. This rule can sometimes complicate settlement negotiations, pushing more cases toward trial., especially if there are liability issues.
Consult a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney
In summary, while the majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court, it’s crucial to be prepared for the possibility of a trial. Our team at Flanagan Law builds every case with trial in mind, and the insurance adjusters and defense attorneys know that our firm will go the distance and try the case in front of a jury.
Knowing the types of cases that are more likely to go to trial, understanding Georgia’s specific laws, and weighing the pros and cons of a jury trial can help you make informed decisions about your case.
If you have more questions or need legal assistance, you can schedule a free consultation at Flanagan Law.