Accident victims are sometimes hesitant to pursue a personal injury claim because they are worried about having to go to court. I hear it often.  While they want full compensation, they don’t really want to involve friends, family, and others in a court case.  They REALLY don’t want to be part of a news story. This blog explores this question—”Do all injury cases go to court?”—and offers a little insight into the legal process surrounding personal injury cases, specifically in Columbus, Georgia, Phenix City Alabama, Ft. Moore, Georgia, and our surrounding communities.

  1. Court Necessity in Injury Cases

Contrary to popular belief, not all personal injury cases require a court appearance. In fact, most personal injury cases are settled before a trial takes place.  Sometimes LONG before. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 95% of personal injury cases are resolved through settlements before reaching trial. In Alabama and Georgia, that figure is closer to 98%. This trend highlights the efficiency of negotiations and mediations in resolving disputes without the need for a formal courtroom setting.

  1. Settlement vs. Litigation

Understanding the difference between settling and litigating, from the outset of your case, is crucial. Settlement involves the injured party and the defendant (or their insurers) agreeing on how much money the victim should receive, without a trial.  Litigation is the process of taking legal action in court to resolve disputes over civil matters such as personal injuries. But even if you litigate a case, that is, file it, it does not mean you are going to have to go to a courtroom and tell your story before a jury.

But the truth is, getting full justice often requires that you prepare for trial and be ready to try the case.  Otherwise, the insurance company won’t take the case seriously.  This process involves filing a complaint, exchanging information about your past, your work experience, your medical history, and your family It can necessitate taking and giving sworn testimony OUTSIDE of the courtroom in what are called depositions.  Most cases that get filed and then required to go to mediation before a trial – so there are several steps along the way when sometimes the case can still be resolved.  It is not all or nothing.  Getting ready for an actual trial involves much more, including getting familiar courtroom setting, calling witnesses, formally presenting evidence to the judge and jury. Both routes have their pros and cons, and the choice of whether to litigate or settle largely depends on the specific circumstances of the case, the amount of compensation involved, and the willingness of both parties to negotiate.

  1. Considering Your Options

For those considering a personal injury claim, here are several steps to navigating the process:

  1. Consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer to evaluate your case. Do this as soon as possible after your accident.
  2. Participate in gathering all necessary documentation related to your case for both the cause of the injury and the injury itself.  This includes getting documents together such as medical reports, accident reports, and any correspondence with insurance companies.
  3. Consider any settlement offers carefully. Often, a settlement can provide a quicker resolution, but it may be less than what might be awarded in court. It might also represent a better result than a trial – every case has its own considerations. Be sure to think about any future medical needs, future lost income, and permanent limitations you may have because of the incident before making a final decision.
  4. Be prepared to go to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
  5. MOST IMPORTANT: work with a lawyer who shares information with you, participates in the preparation of the case and lets you KNOW YOUR OPTIONS so you can make good and informed decisions.

Conclusion: Expertise of Gary Bruce

At the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, located in the heart of the Chattahoochee Valley, we bring over 35 years of experience to the table in handling personal injury claims both in and out of court. Our understanding of the intricacies of personal injury law, combined with a commitment to our clients’ best interests, allows us to provide top-notch legal representation. It is my mission to give all the information we have to our client so they know their options and can make informed decisions.  It is our job to help lead and provide answers to questions, but ultimately the lawyer does NOT decide how to resolve a case. We invite anyone with a personal injury claim to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options.

To hear more from Gary Bruce on this topic, check out his segment on WTVM’s Legal Break in Columbus by clicking this link. Remember, you don’t always have to go to court to resolve your injury case, and we are here to help guide you through every step of the process.