Is Your Personal Injury Case Likely To Go To Trial? These Two Factors Can Make It Likely
It's pretty well known that most personal injury cases settle out of court. Estimates vary, but only about 4%-5% of all personal injury cases ever go to trial. There's a lot of good reasons for this, including the fact that a settlement gives you a certain outcome (unlike a trial). Plus, it may be the most financially-sound decision to make—trials can be expensive, and the increased costs may eat away any additional compensation you receive.
However, there are times when a trial is probably inevitable. If either of the following situations apply in your case, you may have to settle in and brace yourself for the long haul.
1.) You have pre-existing medical conditions.
If you were in somewhat delicate health before the accident, you may be what is sometimes called an "eggshell" plaintiff—someone who is simply more susceptible to injuries than others. For example, if you have osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, a slip and fall that might have caused someone else a bruise could end up causing you a broken hip and a fractured arm.
While the law says that the defense is liable for your injuries even if they were significantly more serious than anyone would have expected, you can generally expect the defense to try to minimize their liability. Defense attorneys may argue that you deserve less compensation for pain and suffering, for example, because your quality of life was already poor. They may also try to argue that your future wages, if part of the case, would have been lower due to the nature of your condition. They may even try to argue that some of the damage to your body was actually due to your condition alone, and not the result of the accident.
2.) You've had other accidents and previous claims.
You can almost guarantee that the defense is going to try to make an issue of any previous accidents that you've been in that resulted in a settlement or lawsuit (whether you were successful or not). That's a common question that's asked during the early stages of any case.
The defense can try to use your history in a few different ways:
- They may suggest that you are "lawsuit happy." The implication, of course, will be that you sue without just cause and are looking for a quick payout at someone else's expense. They may even suggest that you staged the accident.
- They may raise the question of whether any of your long-term injuries are due to a previous, already-settled claim, particularly if any of your injuries are similar.
While the first tactic is something that ultimately centers on your credibility, the second approach centers around "causation," or the question of which accident caused which injury and what long-term issues.
For more information, contact Kiernan Personal Injury Attorneys PA or a similar firm.