Do Personal Injury Lawyers Go to court?

Many people with an injury caused by another person’s negligence often ask, “Do personal injury lawyers go to court?” Most personal injury lawyers in Chicago, Illinois, do not go to court, as up to 95% of injury cases get resolved through an insurance settlement process. In fact, most cases reach a settlement before a lawsuit is initiated. Other cases may involve filing a lawsuit, but settle before trial proceedings start. Only a small percentage (5%) of personal injury cases resolve through a trial process. Despite that, hiring a lawyer with a demonstrated trial experience is a wise decision.

A man with a personal injury finally gets some legal representation shaking hands with a lawyer. Do Personal Injury Lawyers Go to Trial?

A personal injury lawyer with a success rate of obtaining a favorable outcome inside and outside the courtroom will gain respect from the relevant insurance company. The company knows that such a lawyer will not hesitate to move to trial if the suggested settlement amount is unfair or unreasonable. So, the company will be more willing to offer a decent settlement when you are working with a trial-tested lawyer than a lawyer with no trial experience.

The Process of Personal Injury Cases in Illinois

No two personal injury cases are the same. Each case is different depending on the type of accident, the nature of injuries sustained, and facts of the case. Most injury cases, however, follow a common process, as discussed in the sections below:

Consultation With the Lawyer

A personal injury case in Illinois starts with an initial consultation with a lawyer. The consultation session allows you to meet or talk with the lawyer over the phone. It enables the lawyer to evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid legal basis for a personal injury case. It also allows you to determine if that lawyer is a right fit for your case.

Expect many questions on how the incident happened, injuries suffered, and treatment received during the initial consultation. Beside answering questions, you should present documents or records to support your claims.

Be sure to ask the lawyer questions regarding the process of personal injury claims or cases in Chicago, Illinois. You can, for instance, ask, “Will my personal injury case go to trial?

It is wise to set up an initial consultation with another lawyer if the first lawyer you talked to did not inspire confidence in you. The goal is to choose a personal injury lawyer with a long and successful history of resolving cases like yours.

Investigation and Evaluation of Your Case

Investigation and evaluation are essential in determining strong points and weak points of your case. They are also crucial in compiling evidence to prove your case. Strong evidence and legal arguments are necessary to receive a reasonable compensation, regardless of the type of accident that resulted in your injury.

The investigation and evaluation process begins with your lawyer carefully analyzing your case details. The lawyer will listen to your description of the incident, examine the injuries you suffered, and identify the potentially liable party (or parties).

Your lawyer will assemble different forms of evidence to build a strong claim and maximize your odds of receiving reasonable compensation. These forms of evidence include police reports, security camera footage, medical records, and eyewitness statements.

Your lawyer may also consult expert witnesses if your case involves complex concepts. Expert witnesses can explain those concepts and offer expert opinions to bolster your legal arguments and evidence.

Determining the Amounts of Recoverable Damages Available to You

After determining the liable party and gathering adequate evidence, the next step is calculating compensation that can cover economic and non-economic losses arising from your injury. Determining the ideal compensation to seek from the liable party involves more than adding bills, invoices, and receipts. Your lawyer will wait until your treating doctor declares that you have attained maximum medical improvement (MMI) to value your claim.

Reaching MMI is a perfect time to calculate your recoverable damages because you have achieved the maximum progress with your treatment. You have also learned how to cope with your injury and can predict costs you might incur in the future.

Your lawyer will consider the at-fault party’s insurance policy limit, the nature and extent of your injury, and the impact of the injury on your ability to work when determining how much your case is worth.

Sending a Demand Letter

Your lawyer will send a demand letter to the insurance company describing the accident, who is liable, and how much your claim is worth. After receiving the demand letter, the company will assign your claim to an adjuster.

The insurance adjuster will investigate your claim and most likely respond with an offer to settle the claim with a lower amount than the amount in the demand letter. This marks the beginning of the negotiation process. Your lawyer will negotiate with the adjuster to try to convince the adjuster to adjust the offer upwards.

File a Lawsuit With the Appropriate Court

If negotiations fail, the next step is to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court. In Illinois, you will initiate your lawsuit in the county where you got injured, or the county where the liable party or entity resides or does business. You will then have the complaint, summons, and other relevant court documents delivered to the liable party. You can use a sheriff, special process server, or a licensed private detective to serve these court documents on the liable party.

Prepare for Trial

Thorough trial preparation can better your chances of winning a personal injury case. Trial preparation begins with your lawyer gathering and preserving evidence. The lawyer also reviews witness statements and removes inconsistencies that may weaken your case.

Your lawyer also trains you and witnesses in your case to remain calm and composed during testimony and cross-examination. This training may involve practicing testimony, developing possible questions, and preparing well-thought-out answers before trial.

Benefits of Personal Injury Lawyers When Going to Court

Hiring personal injury lawyers when going to court increases the chances of injured parties receiving full and reasonable compensation. These lawyers offer the following benefits during a personal injury trial:

Advocate for the Client in Front of a Judge and Jury

A personal injury lawyer can advocate for your best interests before a judge and jury. Your lawyer can present your case and support it with evidence and arguments. The lawyer can also expose inconsistencies in the other party’s witnesses and skillfully counter the defense arguments. The lawyer can use his or her in-depth knowledge of personal injury law, negotiation abilities, and trial experience to protect your rights and push for compensation that covers the full scope of your damages.

Present a Compelling Case and Evidence

A personal injury lawyer commences investigations immediately after initial consultations and entering a representation agreement with you. Your lawyer then assembles and reviews evidence of the accident or incident skillfully.

Your lawyer may hire accident reconstruction professionals to recreate the accident and gather crucial details that might have been missed during preliminary investigations. He or she can also work with private investigators and expert witnesses to help prepare and present a compelling case and evidence.

Give You Peace of Mind

Accidents often leave victims injured, scared, and traumatized. They sometimes lead to death. It may be challenging to navigate the complex aspects of a personal injury case during such a time. Fortunately, however, a personal injury lawyer can take charge of the case and allow you to focus on recovering or mourning your loved one.

Choosing the Best Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Case

The following tips can help you select the right lawyer for your personal injury case:

Consider Personal Injury Experience

Demonstrable experience in handling personal injury cases is a crucial consideration when searching and vetting lawyers. Look for lawyers who have dedicated their practice to personal injury.

Browse their websites and set up an initial consultation with at least three lawyers who seem ideal for you. During the consultation, find out the number of cases related to yours that the lawyer has recently handled. Also, find out how many cases they have successfully resolved at trial or through a settlement process with insurance companies.

Review the response to determine the lawyer’s success rate. You can then hire that lawyer or consult another lawyer based on the results.

Pick a Lawyer With a Manageable Caseload

A lawyer with a manageable caseload will give you sufficient support when pursuing compensation. The lawyer will perform thorough investigations and gather crucial evidence. He or she will meet deadlines, regularly provide case progress, and respond to questions like, “What does litigation mean in a personal injury case?

Choose a Lawyer with a Fee Structure that Suits Your Needs

Most personal injury lawyers take on cases on a contingency fee arrangement. A contingency fee arrangement is a model whereby payment of legal fees depends on the successful result of a case. If a lawyer settles or win the case, the lawyer takes a specific percentage of the settlement or compensation as legal fees. 

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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