Do all Personal Injury Cases Have to Go to Trial?

January 31, 2022

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual, entity, or company, then you may very well be able to recover compensation for your losses. Unlike what is often portrayed in TV shows and movies, most personal injury cases do not go to trial. It is important to understand how personal injury claims are typically settled in West Virginia, as well as under what circumstances a personal injury case may need to go to trial.

The Settlement Process Usually Wins Out

Most personal injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. If every single personal injury claim in West Virginia ended up going to trial, the civil court system in this state would get clogged up, and nothing would ever get accomplished.

However, even though personal injury cases are usually settled with insurance carriers, we strongly encourage injury victims to be cognizant of insurance carrier tactics. Insurance carriers have one goal in mind, and that is to limit how much money they payout in a settlement. Insurance claims adjusters will conduct investigations and do what they can to find reasons to deny your claim or offer a lower settlement.

We strongly encourage injury victims to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Martinsburg who can offer free consultation and walk them through the best steps moving forward.

Why a Trial May Be Necessary

Ultimately, if an insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement or if they deny the claim, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court.

Even if a civil personal injury lawsuit does get filed, this does not necessarily mean that the case will go all the way to trial. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are still going to be resolved before a trial becomes necessary. When a personal injury lawsuit is commenced, it will enter the discovery phase, which is when the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the alleged at-fault party) continue gathering information and exchange evidence with one another. During this process, it may also be necessary to take depositions of any witnesses involved in the incident. This can take time. Sometimes, the discovery process drags on for months or even years.

It is not uncommon for attorneys on both sides to continue negotiations, particularly as they gather more evidence and realize that a settlement is in their best interest.

Conversely, a plaintiff could discover that the evidence backing up their claim is not strong, and it may be necessary to drop the case.

The only time a personal injury case will go to trial is if a plaintiff and their attorney believe that they have a strong case against the at-fault party and if the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, despite the evidence. When a case finally does make it to trial, a jury will hear the evidence and deliberate. They will make a decision about whether or not the defendant should be held liable and how much compensation they owe the plaintiff.

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