When an accident occurs in Florida causing injuries, Florida law allows the injured party to hold the negligent party legally and financially responsible for the injuries sustained in the accident. Although the majority of personal injury claims settle outside of the courtroom, some cases go all the way to a trial.
Depending on the specific circumstances of a personal injury case, there are various types of damages an injured party may be able to pursue for injuries sustained such as damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among others. Sometimes the parties to a personal injury case cannot agree on damages or fault. When the parties cannot reach an agreement on damages, they often go to trial.
If you suffered serious injuries from an accident and have questions about the litigation process in Florida and whether your case is likely to go to trial, the experienced Florida personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney can help. Our personal injury legal team has decades of experience and is trained to help clients recover the compensation they are entitled to for the injuries they sustained in an accident caused by a third party. At our firm, we fight for our clients and will go to trial if necessary. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Explain Why Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial
Although most personal injury cases settle and do not go to trial, some do not settle for various reasons. Going to trial in a personal injury case is usually a last resort for both parties because there are inherent risks and extensive costs. One reason personal injury cases go to court is because an at-fault party’s insurance company will not pay out an adequate amount of money for injuries sustained by the injured party. Some insurance companies quickly try to coerce injured parties to accept very low monetary offers as quickly as possible. Quick settlements can also help an insurance company to avoid paying out the costs of litigating a claim (such as paying for investigators, adjusters, and attorneys’ fees).
Some plaintiffs, however, refuse to accept lowball offers from insurance companies to settle their case. Where an insurance company refuses to pay sufficient damages to cover the plaintiff’s injuries, a case may not settle. Where damages are large enough, an insurance company may accept the risk of fighting a lawsuit and go to trial to attempt to avoid paying out a large settlement.
Additionally, some state laws will compare fault between the parties and assign partial fault to both parties, including the injured party. This can lead to a jury reducing the amount of money a plaintiff may receive in damages which may incentivize a defendant and insurance company to go to trial to avoid paying large damages. In some situations, an insurance company may be willing to roll the dice and go to court to pay less than the settlement demand from the plaintiff.
Who Decides Whether the Case Will Go To Trial?
The decision of whether to go to trial or not is typically up to the injured party and their lawyer. You can decide to accept the settlement offer by the insurance company or move forward with a formal trial. Making the decision of whether to accept a settlement or go to trial can be a difficult one. There is a risk of receiving nothing if you go to trial. However, a settlement you receive from the defendant’s insurance company may be grossly inadequate. Let the experienced attorneys at Searcy Denney evaluate your case, and help you determine what steps to take in your case.
What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?
In personal injury cases, the parties often present their cases to a jury. The job of the jury is to determine whether the defendant in the case caused the injuries sustained by the plaintiff and to award damages.
At the trial, both the plaintiff and defendant will typically present opening and closing statements summarizing their cases and explain why the jury should render a verdict in their favor. The parties will also present evidence in favor of their case for the jury to hear. Examples of evidence presented to the jury often include, but is not limited to:
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony
- Video footage
- Medical records
- And more
After the closing arguments, the jury will then deliberate and render a verdict.
What If I Cannot Afford to Go To Trial?
Taking a personal injury case to trial can be very time-consuming and expensive. Some injured parties are concerned they may not be able to afford to pay for an attorney to take their case all the way to trial. Unlike what you may see on TV law shows that begin and end with a dramatic conclusion within an hour, many personal injury cases may take years to get to trial which is costly. However, many personal injury law firms, like Searcy Denney, may be willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you are only charged a fee, usually a percentage, if you win your case and receive a financial award. The attorney’s fee will typically be paid from the settlement or verdict award, so you don’t have to pay fees out of your pocket. If you have questions about costs associated with taking your personal injury case to trial, contact Searcy Denney today for a free consultation.
Contact the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Searcy Denney Today for a Free Consultation
Were you injured in an accident and now have questions about what the litigation process looks like? Do you have questions about taking your case to trial? If so, contact Searcy Denney today. The Florida personal injury lawyers at our firm are experienced trial lawyers and know how courts and juries often look at these cases. We understand the strategies that insurance companies often employ to try to reduce or avoid payouts in personal injury cases. Our track record of success speaks for itself. Call us toll-free at 800-780-8607 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Florida personal injury lawyers. We have offices conveniently located in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. We are here for you.