How Often Do Personal Injury Cases Go All The Way To Trial?
Very few personal injury cases go all the way to trial (I would say about three percent). The defense will often say that they are going to try a case, so we spend hours preparing the case for trial, getting all of the subpoenas out and all of the witnesses ready to go. After all of that, the case will get settled either on the courtroom steps or half of a day into trial.
On the very small percentage of cases that are tried to conclusion, some of them are not just black and white, and you just have to rely on a jury to make the decision. Most people don’t know this, but juries are very stingy. People read newspapers and hear about four-million dollar lawsuits against McDonald’s for a coffee spill, but they don’t know the full story. If they ever heard the full story, then they would say “Oh my god, it’s really insurance propaganda.”
With that said, some cases need to go all the way to trial because the parties will never agree, or it simply involves one person’s word against another person’s word. If you don’t like the jury’s result, and you think it is worth appealing, then you can appeal.
Why Is It Important Not To Have Any Gaps In Care In An Auto Accident Claim?
It is very important that you follow the doctor’s instructions in an auto accident claim, primarily for the purposes of getting better. In addition, if jurors see gaps in treatment, they may conclude that you were not hurt very badly because it was not important for you to get relief. Assuming that you have pain, it should be taken care of. Sometimes I run into a problem where the doctor gives the patient or the plaintiff problems, and the lawyer has to solve the problem so that the legitimate care can continue. Sometimes doctors are not pleasant, and on occasion there may be a good reason for a client to switch doctors in order to feel comfortable continuing their care.
A lawyer certainly does not want their client to have large gaps of time between treatments. Ultimately, all a lawyer can do is to beg their client to go to the appointments, write down the dates of treatment in a diary, and ensure that they have a reliable way of getting to their appointments. Gaps in treatment are like big holes in the side of a lawn; they can be corrected, but it’s better to not have them to begin with. It’s important to have a smooth flow of legitimate treatment.
How Long Does It Take For a Typical Personal Injury Case To Get Resolved?
On a small case, a conservative estimate would be eight months to a year before it gets resolved. Complicated cases involving severe injuries or questions about who caused the accident can last two or three years. It is important to understand that the law does not move quickly. A case that takes a long time to get resolved is not necessarily a matter of the attorney’s office being ill-equipped or unwilling to spend the time on it that it needs. Difficult, heavy injury cases take a lot of steps to develop them.
There are all kinds of delays by the defense. Sometimes we try to go into mediation and the mediator meets with the plaintiff and explains their problems in the case. Then they meet with the defense and try to give a range of fair options in order to bring the parties together. Mediation is not a trial; mediation involves the assistance of an informal person who is very well-equipped to be neutral. A large percentage of these cases get settled.
Can Someone Realistically Handle a Personal Injury Claim On Their Own Without An Attorney?
We are very blunt and very fair. If a person has a tiny case, we will probably give free advice and just tell them what to do. I have coached quite a few clients at no charge because their cases were small. Again, there is always a problem in cases that involve serious injuries. If you try to do it on your own and it’s a small case, insurance companies will give you $1000 because it’s going to cost more money to defend the case. If it’s a case where they have good coverage and there are serious injuries, then I would never walk that path of fire without an experienced good lawyer.
There are a lot of average lawyers who will get average results. If you’ve been hurt very badly and you need the money and you have a good lawyer, then that lawyer will maximize your recovery. He will get every dollar he can get because he will know that you might be paralyzed for life, that you might not be able to work again, or that you might be on social security. Life can be very brutal if you don’t even have a minimum amount of money to live on.
Life can be long and there is only a certain amount of money that can be recovered. Over the years I have learned that it’s not a lottery; nobody gets anything for nothing. Juries are stingy, and if the juries do give too high of a number, then they are always appealed and often reduced. My wife recently sat on a jury and she couldn’t believe how cheap they were. A lot of jurors think very small. They live like all of us, leading average lives without pain. Since they don’t have the disability, a certain sum of money may seem like a lot of money to them, when in reality it is an inadequate amount.
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