Avoiding Trial in a Personal Injury Case

Being injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing adds insult to injury for most victims. Not only must you have any physical, emotional, and economic injuries addressed, but you also must deal with the pursuit of justice to obtain legal compensation for your damages. The process of hiring an attorney, filing a claim, and waiting for trial adds stress to the growing stack of injustices that you must go against to seek redress.

Many legal experts today believe that juries are less sympathetic toward victims than in times past. They want to see concrete evidence of physical damage like broken bones or significant wounds, not hear vague reports of headaches or dizziness that can’t be realistically measured. Even when medical experts testify on behalf of victims’ injuries, seen or unseen, juries tend to recommend lower awards nowadays, sometimes even nothing. For that reason, seasoned attorney will do everything in their power to persuade victims not to go to trial. Instead, they often recommend the following alternate options to pursue personal injury compensation.

Reduce the demand.

If a patient feels his or her injuries are worth $100,000, the attorney may suggest asking the defendant for $50,000 instead. The reason is that the defendant’s attorney or insurer is more likely to seriously consider settling the case for a lower demand. The old saying of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush is the basis of this strategy. Some patients will agree to a lesser demand, while others hold out for the original amount. Experts caution that you never know how a jury or judge will respond.

Settlement conference.

Typically, the court will schedule a settlement conference before the trial to give both parties the opportunity to settle the claim rather than go to court. Advantages are that it is faster, cheaper, and less stressful to settle a claim rather than wait for and go through a court trial that may end badly. A settlement conference can last an hour or all day. Some are simple negotiations between the parties in different courthouse rooms, while others are more elaborate with plaintiff displays of injuries or losses.

Settlement discussions.

Before or after a settlement conference, plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys may discuss the case by phone or in person, possibly even by videoconferencing. This is generally an informal but significant approach to try and settle the case before trial. One or several conversations could take place between the parties leading up to and even during the court trial.

Various sources report that between 65 percent and 95 percent of personal injury lawyer Toronto cases settle rather than go to court. These options may be worth considering to save time and reduce stress.

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