Settlement Preferred by All Parties
Because decisions of juries are hard to predict, neither car accident attorneys nor insurance companies want to go to trial if they can reach a mutual agreement in the form of a settlement. Both parties also have more control over costs with a settlement than with a trial, which often involves experts. With prior experience and a willingness to negotiate, both sides can come to a mutual agreement on the value of an injury case.
When a Settlement is Not Possible
Going to trial is only necessary when both sides cannot come to an agreement. If a claims adjuster is unwilling or unable to get approval on a large enough payout, there will be no settlement; and if the plaintiff side feels that their demands are not being met or if the defense thinks that the plaintiff is being unreasonable, a settlement is not possible. Also, an attorney cannot stop a plaintiff from turning down an offer or force the plaintiff to make an offer.
If Your Car Accident Case Goes to Trial
If all attempts at settlement have failed, a car accident case may be either tried to a judge (a “bench trial”) or tried to a jury (a “jury trial”). During a trial, both sides may present evidence in their favor, with the plaintiff bearing the burden of proof. After both sides have finished presenting their cases to the judge or jury, a decision is reached. If either party is unhappy with any part of the decision, he or she may appeal the judgment to an appeals court. If no appeal is made, then the judgment of the trial court remains final.