Will my personal injury case go to trial? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

In many personal injury cases, the parties aim to reach a settlement that is fair and reasonable without going to trial. This often saves time, money, and the uncertainty of a jury’s decision. However, it’s crucial to be prepared for the possibility of a trial if negotiations fail to produce a satisfactory resolution.

Whether your personal injury case will go to trial depends on various factors, and the ultimate decision often hinges on negotiations, legal strategies, and the circumstances surrounding your case. While the majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlements, some do proceed to trial.

Here’s an explanation of the factors that influence whether your personal injury case will go to trial.

Liability and Dispute

The extent to which liability is clear and disputed can significantly impact whether your case goes to trial. If there is a clear-cut case of liability, where the responsible party accepts fault, they may be more inclined to settle to avoid the uncertainty and costs of a trial. Conversely, if liability is heavily contested, the case may be more likely to proceed to trial as there may be no agreement on responsibility.


The extent of your injuries and resulting damages plays a crucial role. In cases with substantial damages, such as high medical bills, lost wages, and significant pain and suffering, there may be more incentive for both parties to reach a settlement to avoid the risk of a large jury award. On the other hand, those very same factors could cause the insurance to dispute the seriousness of your injuries and the amount of damages you’ve suffered.

Insurance Company Behavior

The behavior and tactics of the insurance company involved can influence whether your case goes to trial. Some insurance companies are more willing to negotiate and settle cases fairly, while others may adopt a more adversarial approach, making it necessary to litigate the matter in court.

Negotiation Efforts

Your attorney’s negotiation skills and efforts can have a substantial impact. Skilled negotiators may be able to reach favorable settlements without the need for trial. However, if negotiations stall or the other party is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, going to trial may become necessary to secure adequate compensation.

Willingness to Settle

Both parties must be willing to negotiate and reach a settlement for it to happen. If either party is unwilling to compromise or has unrealistic expectations, it can lead to a trial.

Strength of Evidence

The strength of the evidence on both sides can influence the likelihood of trial. If you have strong evidence to support your claims, such as witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony, it may persuade the other party to settle. Conversely, if the evidence is weak or disputed, it may increase the likelihood of going to trial.

Pre-Trial Motions and Hearings

Before a trial begins, there are often pre-trial motions and hearings. These proceedings can help clarify legal issues, address disputes, or even lead to settlements. If critical legal issues are resolved in favor of one party during pre-trial proceedings, it can influence the likelihood of a trial.