Most personal injury cases settle out of court without having to go through a trial. Some of these cases still go to trial due to many factors. These factors can influence whether a case settles or not. Some of the common variables include:
The Insurance Company Questions Who Was at Fault
Sometimes the person who caused the injury panics and denies being at fault. Even when there are witnesses, some people will deny running a stoplight, texting while driving, engaging in road rage, being under the influence of alcohol, and other apparent hazardous behavior.
In this situation, both the plaintiff and the defense have to do more work to prove the facts. If the defendant persists in denying his actions, the case might have to go to trial so that a judge can tell him that his story is false.
The Police Report Contains Errors
A case might not settle is if the law enforcement officer who came to the scene wrote down incorrect information that became part of the police report. This circumstance is likely if the error benefits the defendant. An accident reconstruction expert can investigate the scene and vehicles, make calculations, and testify that it is scientifically impossible for the wreck to have happened the way the flawed report says that it did.
The Insurance Company Thinks That You Might Be Exaggerating Your Injuries
If you suffered significant injuries from a low-impact collision, the insurance company might refuse to settle the case for the amount you deserve. Occasionally severe trauma can result from a fender-bender, but you will have to prove that fact to a judge.
Insurers tend to work within a range of expected outcomes for particular types of cases. If your case involves a higher amount of damages, though, the adjuster might not have authority to settle the case, so you may have to go to trial.
The Insurance Company Wants More Information About Any of the Facts
If the defendant’s insurer is not satisfied with the amount of detail in the police report and other evidence, they might keep digging to get more facts to help their case. Gathering evidence can be time-consuming and can delay settlement. At some point, the judge might insist on setting the case for trial.
The Defendant Is Not Moving Forward on the Case
It is to the advantage of the insurance company to hold on to its money as long as it can. Paying claims takes money out of the pocket of the corporation. If the insurer delays the case for too long, the judge will set the case for trial.
Additionally, insurance defense lawyers usually have a high-volume caseload. If the insurance defense lawyer assigned to your case does not prioritize your case due to being overworked, your case might end up in trial by default.
The Defendant Hired an Expert Witness
It can be necessary to hire an expert witness to explain a particular aspect of the case. For example, one might need:
- A medical expert to testify about the extent of your injuries and that the accident caused the harm
- A vocational or rehabilitation expert to explain to the court how your injuries will impact your career and your daily life
- An accident reconstruction expert to prove to the court the speed at which a car was traveling or how the wreck happened
It takes time for these experts to review the records, perform their calculations, reach their conclusions, and write their reports. And experts are expensive. After the insurance company has paid for an expert, they might feel as if they should take a chance on a trial since they have already incurred such high litigation costs.
The Insurance Company Wants to Send a Message
An insurance company is a large corporation. If the insurer wants to send a message that they will defend all claims aggressively, they might take many cases to trial that should settle no matter how careless their insured was or how much you deserve compensation. When a case gets caught in a corporate decision like this, the adjuster will not agree to a settlement.
Call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC, today at 404-474-0804, and we will set up your free, no-obligation consultation to talk about your personal injury case.