Image of a woman clutching her neck after a car crash

If you are considering filing a car accident claim, you may wonder if your case will go to trial. Most car accident cases never make it to trial, even if the parties move from an insurance claim to a personal injury lawsuit.

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), most civil cases undergo negotiations between the two parties for a settlement. The ABA also found that over the past half-century, the number of federal civil jury trials has significantly declined to the point where jury trials are an exception rather than the rule.

Settling a car accident case rather than going to court can save you stress and litigation costs and help you obtain compensation faster. When you work with the Joye Law Firm, our experienced South Carolina auto accident attorneys can make a difference in your case whether going to trial or negotiating a settlement.

Why Do Few Civil Trial Cases Go to Court?

Civil trial cases have become uncommon over the past few decades due to various legal pressures on all parties involved in the case. Some of the most common reasons include the following:

Pressure to Settle Quickly

Mediators, and many times judges,  may attempt to persuade all parties involved in a civil case to settle before it reaches the jury trial stage. This may be due to judges’ perception that litigants prefer to settle pre-trial and that steering them to settle rather than go to court helps them achieve a fair outcome.

Time Issues

South Carolina Code § 15-3-530(5) states a three-year statute of limitations for all personal injury lawsuits, including car accident claims. However, the timeframe for going to trial varies in complexity and length due to having to go through pre-trial procedures such as filing motions and gathering evidence during discovery.

Mediating before a lengthy and costly trial can offer an early resolution of a case and result in a favorable settlement beneficial to all parties to save time.

Uncertainty Over the Case’s Outcome

Court-determined outcomes are uncertain for litigants in a car accident case. Juries must hear evidence and award damages according to the trial rules. Experienced lawyers cannot predict the final decision of a jury or bench trial, and despite preparation, going to trial puts your possible compensation in the hands of the court, giving you no control over the outcome.

Even when a jury offers a substantial award to the plaintiff, the other party may appeal it, which may prolong the process of settling your case.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Is Necessary Even When a Trial May Not Occur

Although going through a trial is unlikely, an experienced personal injury attorney can provide legal guidance and help you negotiate a fair settlement to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other losses.

Joye Law Firm can assist you whether you want to settle outside of court or go to trial. Your attorney will help you in the following ways:

  • Understanding of the Law: Your attorney will evaluate the facts of the accident and who is liable for the accident under SC § 15-38-15. They will present your legal options and provide their recommendation, but won’t pressure you to accept an outcome you’re unsatisfied with for your case.
  • Negotiation Skills: Your attorney can estimate a settlement amount that covers all your losses by referring to evidence such as medical bills and photos of your injuries that emphasize the financial and emotional impact of the accident on your quality of life. Leveraging this evidence during negotiation can pressure the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement.
  • Trial Preparation if Needed: The insurance company might claim that you share a larger percentage of fault for the accident or imply the accident did not cause your injuries. If negotiations break down, your attorney can prepare to take your case to court. Your attorney can call expert witnesses for their testimonies and represent you in front of the judge and jury.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Joye Law Firm to Learn Your Legal Options

Although going to trial is an option for car accident victims, most cases can be resolved outside the courtroom with a fair settlement more quickly. The South Carolina auto accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm can help you understand your legal options for filing a claim or lawsuit and how each may impact your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.

Contact our team of experienced lawyers today to review your case and help you determine the right settlement option for you.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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