Q Will my case have to go to trial?
AWhether your case, or any case in our office, has to go to trial is dependent upon several straightforward factors.
- Is there a dispute about responsibility for the accident? If there is no dispute as to how the accident occurred, a trial will most definitely not be necessary on liability. However, as you'll see below, a trial still may be necessary if the parties cannot agree on damages. Most cases settle where there is clear liability and the question is the reasonable amount of damages. If the case involves two parties with diametrically opposed versions of how an accident occurred, such as two parties contending they had the green light in an intersection, our job is to collect the evidence to support your case so that you can avoid trial, but occasionally trial is simply necessary. Some defendants simply do not want to accept responsibility for their actions.
- Is there a dispute about economic damages? When you are injured you will incur medical expenses and a wage loss that are usually documented. Insurance companies like to contest these losses, because they are in the business of saving money. Fortunately, it is rare that cases go to trial simply because there is a dispute about the reasonable medical expenses or wage loss. Only when wage loss cannot be documented is there a greater increased risk of trial, or when bizarre medical complaints are being treated, which do not seem to have relevance to the accident.
- Is there dispute about pain and suffering? Most cases that go to trial in California are about liability disputes, as discussed above, or pain and suffering disputes. Insurance companies for defendants are skeptical people. They don't want to pay any pain and suffering, or the least amount possible. Remember, insurance companies are the largest single advocate of no-fault insurance, which pays no pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is a necessary element of any personal injury claim. Pain and suffering is the only fair system we have to compensating you for the frustration, loss of quality of life, and future disablement due to the negligence of another. It isn't about the money in most cases. In fact, you would prefer to never have been involved in the accident than to get some amount of money to compensate you for the trouble you have been put through.
Big business insurance companies don't care about your frustration and pain, only profits. It is our job to convince the insurance company that a jury will award you the pain and suffering we seek. If we are able to demonstrate that evidence, your case settles. If an insurance company doesn't want to listen, with your permission, we go to trial, and convince the jury we are the reasonable party.