When it comes to personal injury claims in Utah, many people picture elaborate courtroom trials with a judge and jurors. However, this hardly happens. Estimates show that about 95% of pending lawsuits end in a pre-trial settlement, meaning only 1 in 20 personal injury cases is resolved in court.
Typically, avoiding trial is easier on the pocket and gives each party more control over the case’s outcome. But some plaintiffs may want to take their personal injury claim to trial if they believe they have been cheated out of a rightful paycheck. After all, insurance companies are notorious for coaxing claimants to accept a lowball compensation.
Although uncommon, a personal injury trial might come up due to multiple reasons. Let’s explore a few in this post.
Here’s Why Your Personal Injury Case Can Go to Trial
Under Utah personal injury law, a trial is where the two parties of a personal injury claim disagree on the case’s specifics and take it to court to decide who is entitled to what. If you are curious whether your case will end up before a judge, see whether it involves the following challenges.
1. There’s a Liability Dispute
A liability dispute occurs when the alleged at-fault party (and their insurance company) denies responsibility for the accident and wrongfully shifts the blame on you. Or, you and your opponent have very different views on key issues. For example, in a contract dispute, the parties may interpret their terms and obligations distinctly, leading to friction.
Since settlements usually rely on both sides agreeing with each other, these disputes increase the chances of a case going to trial. A jury will hear both sides of the case and assign fault based on the facts and evidence presented before them.
2. Parties Don’t Agree on the Settlement Value
Even when both sides agree about the fault, they may clash over the estimated value of the claim. The defendant’s insurance company will often try to downplay your losses and save its investors money.
In this regard, experienced personal injury lawyers in Utah should be able to convince the insurance company to offer a fair amount and settle the case successfully. However, some insurers may refuse to budge- which is when your case will go to court.
These circumstances are most common in accidents involving permanent or debilitating injuries- cases that are worth much more than most insurance companies are willing to pay. If your Utah personal injury lawyer believes you deserve a higher payout than what’s being offered, they won’t hesitate to take your case to trial.
3. You Need Additional Damages
Suppose you’re injured in a car accident. When you press for damages, the defendant offers you barely any money, assuming you’ll not push them further. However, that amount is not enough to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and physical/mental anguish.
You can take the defendant to court if you need more damages than what the insurance company or defendant offers for your claim. The judge can rule in your favor, resulting in a higher award or compensation amount than you would have received otherwise.
4. Your Attorney Thinks You Have a Good Chance of Winning
If your case is cut and dried with ample evidence in your favor, or if your personal injury lawyers believe the defendant doesn’t have much chance to turn things around, they might suggest you take the case to trial. This is because you’re more likely to secure extra damages when a judge upholds your stance.
To determine whether you have a good shot at winning your case, your Utah personal injury lawyer will assess the evidence, talk to expert witnesses, and conduct an independent investigation of your case. Once they’re sure you have a solid, faultless case, they’ll sit with you to decide whether it’s worth going to court.
5. You Have Suffered a Case of Bad Faith Insurance
Some insurers may attempt to abandon their obligations to their clients by refusing to pay a legitimate claim. Instead, they’ll handle the case dishonestly to save money. This is called bad faith insurance.
If an insurance company keeps acting in bad faith during your case, your Utah personal injury lawyer may take them to court. Doing this will force them to pay the full value of your injuries or losses.
6. You Want the Defendant to Face the Consequences of their Actions
In rare cases, the plaintiff will take a defending party to court to shed light on their misdeeds. For example, if you were injured due to a negligent medical professional, you may want to take them to court to make a statement- even if they offer a fair settlement amount. The goal is to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
How Your Utah Personal Injury Lawyer Will Prepare for Trial
A good personal injury lawyer can seriously increase your chances of victory at a trial. However, they won’t push your case to court right off the bat. Remember, court trials in personal injury cases are a last resort, used only when your lawyer has explored every other option to secure fair compensation.
Here’s how your Utah personal injury lawyer will prepare for an upcoming court trial.
- Your lawyer will collect evidence to support your personal injury claim in Utah, including photographs/videos, eyewitness testimonies, medical records, and property damage reports, among other things.
- They will file all the necessary paperwork within the statute of limitations.
- Your Utah personal injury lawyer will determine a value for your case, accounting for medical bills, lost wages/benefits, and pain/suffering.
- They will manage all communications with the other party.
- They will guide you on how to respond and what type of questions to expect during a trial.
The Bottom Line
A court trial of any capacity can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries. Luckily, there’s a fair chance your case won’t go to trial. And in case it does, you can trust a reliable personal injury lawyer to walk you through the entire process while taking on most of the work. All you need to do is focus on getting back on your feet!
Henriksen & Henriksen’s personal injury lawyers in Utah have extensive trial experience. Our legal team is committed to handling your case thoroughly and efficiently, leaving no stone unturned to secure what you’re entitled to. We will fight for a favorable outcome in court, no matter what. Get in touch with us to discuss your case today!