Is Your Attorney Willing To Go To Trial?
For the average person, the understanding of lawsuits is seems pretty straightforward. If you’ve been injured through the negligence of someone else, you naturally want that person or company to be held accountable for their actions. Going to trial for a civil lawsuit is the way to do that, and this means engaging the services of an accident lawyer, or some other kind of personal injury attorney. The important thing, however, is that this person represents your case, and argues it to the jury, convincing that jury that your case is sound, and you deserve the financial damages you are suing for.
But it may surprise you to know that even though this is the common perception, there are lawyers out there—quite successful ones—that spend the majority of their time not going to court, and advise their clients against it. There are reasons why such lawyers feel this way, but you may not agree with their reasoning. So why would a lawyer spend all those years attending law school, getting certified, joining a legal practice, and then avoid the courtroom? Here are the reasons.
The reality of a personal injury lawsuit is that if a lawyer agrees to take on the case, they don’t get paid unless they actually win the case. While that is definitely reassuring for clients, it means that lawyers have to be prepared to wait for potentially months to try to argue a case and win it. If they can mediate an out of court settlement, or win a binding arbitration, they can get that case resolved a lot faster. Some lawyers, unfortunately, simply aren’t willing to wait the amount of time—and effort—required to take a case to court.
Taking a civil lawsuit to trial requires an enormous investment of skill, time and work. If you’re trying to prove an argument about an injury in a car accident, for example, a good personal injury lawyer may have an arsenal of contacts that assist in many varied disciplines. Accident reconstruction experts may need to conduct extensive research and gather data to arrive at sound, scientific conclusions about how the accident occurred. Witnesses may need to be sourced, questioned, and even asked to testify in court. Medical experts may need to be questioned and asked to take the stand to provide expert testimony regarding the severity of injuries in the long term.
All of this requires a lot of management and effort on the part of a personal injury lawyer who is assembling this, and conducting his or her own investigations in order to win your case. Not every lawyer has the resources, or the willingness to flex this kind of legal and investigative muscle to win a trial.
Short Term Gain
Lastly, some lawyers are, unfortunately, more interested a constant, easy revenue stream, and are willing to cut corners in order to get it. This means that even if a client may deserve a higher amount of financial compensation that can be won through a trial, the lawyer will advise the client to take the lower amount offered in an out of court settlement, with assurances that this is the better deal, since the low risk and quick payout provide more immediate gains.
If you truly believe your best interests are served by taking your lawsuit to the courtroom, make sure that you pick a personal injury attorney who will be both your guide and your advocate in this endeavour. If a lawyer is advising you to settle out of court based entirely on arguments of convenience, or expediency, that may not the be lawyer that truly has your best interests at heart.