Dealing with an insurance company during a personal injury case can often feel like an uphill battle. Negotiations can be long and drawn out, and what happens when those negotiations don’t result in compensation that you or your attorney believe is fair? You can elect to have your case decided at trial and your attorney will file a case with the courts.
While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, a small percentage of cases are decided by the courts. Taking a personal injury case to court in Utah depends on the type of case it is. Your attorney will look at the severity of your injuries, the amount you need to be compensated, the length of time you would be willing to wait for full compensation, as well as the evidence to prove the claim and then will advise you on what type of litigation they would recommend.
Why take my case to court?
If the parties involved in your case, including you, are unable to resolve who is at-fault for the disputed accident and injuries and cannot agree upon a compensation amount through out-of-courtroom negotiations, the next phase would be taking the case to court.
If the personal injury case is complex and there are multiple parties involved in settling the case, moving to court may be the best way to get a decision.
What are the Advantages of Going to Court?
- You have the possibility of receiving a larger settlement through a jury verdict than you would through a settlement.
- If a defendant has not admitted any wrong doing, having a trial will allow for the case to be argued and decided publicly whether or not the defendant did anything wrong. It will also be made public record.
- You need to have an attorney who is willing to go the extra mile, and go above and beyond to represent you, your case, and the facts and evidence of your cases in a way that accurately and honestly represents the impact your injury had on your life. While we don’t recommend taking every case to court, there are many cases that do much better in court particularly with personal injury cases.
- Johnson | Livingston has a reputation for taking cases to court, we don’t back down when it is clear to us that your case is worth more than what you are being offered. In 2020, we ranked as the top verdict attorney in Utah, because we had the most personal injury cases successfully completed through court.
What are the Disadvantages?
- Taking your case to court may extend the timeline on how soon you can receive your payout. Trials can last months or even years.
- You have no control over the outcome of the case. The decision is made by either a judge or a jury.
- It’s risky in that you may end up not receiving any compensation at all. Utah has a modified comparative negligence law which means that if it’s proven that you were 50% responsible for the accident you may not be eligible to receive any compensation. If you were 49% you may be eligible for compensation at a reduced rate.
Where to Start Your Case & Key Phases Before Going to Court
Consulting with an Attorney
Consult with an experienced Utah personal injury attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case. Johnson | Livingston offers free, no-obligation case consultations. You can count on us to be direct with you, and how viable your case is.
Investigating and Gathering Evidence to Prove Your Case
Once you have hired an attorney, they will work to investigate your case and start gathering evidence. This can include information from the scene of the accident, police reports, documentation of your injuries, medical and other bills, and talking with witnesses.
After everything has been collected and the investigation is complete, your attorney will put together a demand package that contains all evidence collected about the accident and injuries. The package will also contain a letter, sent to the defendant or their insurance company, demanding a favorable settlement for the injured party.
There are two alternative options to going to court, both known as alternative dispute resolutions.
Mediation: A process where an unbiased third party, known as the mediator, facilitates a discussion between all parties involved in a lawsuit and assists them in working towards an agreeable settlement. Decisions made in mediation are non-binding and should either party disagree, an appeal can be filed.
Arbitration: Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution. This can be court ordered or entered into voluntarily by both parties as a way to eliminate expensive court costs. Arbitration is held outside the courtroom and is led by a neutral third party known as the arbitrator. The arbitrator will hear both sides of the case, review all evidence and documentation and make the final decision. Unlike mediation where the final decision is non-binding, when the arbitrator makes the final settlement decision, it is binding.
Should negotiations come to a stand still and neither party is able to agree to a fair and reasonable settlement, Johnson | Livingston will prepare to file a lawsuit.
Prior to the start of the trial both parties will have the opportunity to gather further evidence about the case and one another. There are other important components related to this phase that can help your case be successful, and if your case gets to this point we will talk with you more about the unique ways we address Discovery based on your specific case.
Trial and Final Settlement
Following the conclusion of the discovery phase, a trial will start and the case will be decided upon by either a judge or a jury.
Depending on the specifics of the case, there may be an option for the losing party to appeal the final decision.
The outcome of your case will be based on its particular facts, namely the type of accident, injuries, responsibility of parties involved and more. The information presented here is meant for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Each and every personal injury case is different, and because so we recommend you discuss your case with an experienced attorney who can help you decide if taking your case to court is the best option.
Your Best Interests About Your Case Are Our Number One Priority
Johnson | Livingston are your premier personal injury attorneys and we are here to support you through your personal injury case here in Utah. Our mission is to help you navigate the claims process with ease so that you can focus on healing. You deserve quality legal representation, who is willing to take your case all the way to court if that’s what it means for your best interests and needs to be met.