What Percent of Car Accident Cases Go To Trial?

Statistics show that only about five percent of all personal injury cases ever go to trial, while 95 percent are settled out of court. For those who see only the most heavily reported and advertised cases that result in huge verdicts, this may come as a surprise, but it is easy to understand when the facts about jury trials become clear.

Car accident cases rarely go to trial for a number of good reasons. Both the plaintiff and the defendant usually have little to gain from a protracted car accident case trial, which will often cost more than either party will save when compared to settling. Both car accident attorneys and insurance companies see a car accident trial as a last resort, to be used only when neither side is willing to negotiate or when there are extremely good reasons to take the case to court.

Why Are Car Accident Trials So Rare?

The primary reason for both sides to avoid a trial whenever possible is fairly simple: juries are notoriously unpredictable. A jury trial can result in a low verdict for the plaintiff if members of the jury believe that personal injury cases are simply opportunities to grab money and that victims are trying to “cash in” on their misfortunes. These trials can also result in a high verdict against the insurance company if the jury believes that the company is taking advantage of the victim or that these companies are inherently dishonest. Unfortunately, there is no reliable way to predict which way the jury will feel.

Another problem with finding a friendly jury is that both attorneys must work with the jury pool that is available. While an attorney might use jury selection techniques to better the odds of a good grouping, these techniques are useless if the selection of jurors is limited.

Finally, it is important to remember that trials cost money, often in significant amounts. Both sides will spend money if a case goes to trial; the question becomes how much the trial will cost compared to the possible verdict. The decision to go to trial is, in many ways, a roll of the dice.

What If My Case Must Go To Trial?

While there are many good reasons not to go to trial, there are also good reasons to take a case to court. If an insurance company absolutely refuses to negotiate with the plaintiff, and there is a good chance that a trial will net the plaintiff money to pay for expenses, taking the case to court might be the right decision. Additionally, if the facts of the case show that the defendant was willfully negligent and there are possible punitive damages involved, a trial may be the only way to recover a proper amount.

If a car accident case does go to trial, it is extremely important to choose an attorney with significant trial experience. Some attorneys are reluctant to take cases due to lack of trial experience, while others are eager to take such cases but may not deliver the most professional results. At David & Philpot, we have been representing victims of car accidents for over 20 years. We are experienced trial attorneys with a track record of obtaining beneficial jury verdicts for our clients. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 or fill out of free case evaluation form and we will get right back with you.