When an injured plaintiff decides to have their case heard in a jury trial as opposed to settling their claim, some people automatically assume that they are simply money hungry, out to get more than they are entitled to receive or are trying to financially harm the individual defendant who caused the injury. Others believe that the plaintiff has already collected from an insurance company and now simply wants to get money directly from the defendant. As experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys, we can tell you that this is not the case. In fact, the reason most people who have been injured file a lawsuit and go to trial is because the responsible party’s liability insurance carrier has either denied the claim or refused offer and fair and reasonable compensation for their losses. This is true whether the case involves a car, truck, bicycle or motorcycle accident, slip and fall, brain injury, spinal injury, or a defective product.
One of the most important things injury victims can do is to consult with a capable and skilled Kansas City personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury has occurred. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible after an accident increases your chances of being able to settle your case without having to file a lawsuit. If you chose to pursue your case on your own, you risk fatally harming your claim by losing access to or not preserving valuable evidence, failing to file your claim within the statutes of limitation, making harmful statements to the defendant’s insurance company, failing to get the appropriate medical care and attention or failing to pursue all appropriate defendants for your injuries or losses.
However, the decision to file a lawsuit is not taken lightly. Once a lawsuit has been filed, there are months and sometimes years of “discovery” that must be completed to get prepared for trial. Depositions are usually taken of each of the parties, treating medical doctors, medical experts, forensic experts, and witnesses. This process is time consuming and very costly. The plaintiff’s attorney will often try to settle the case after the party’s depositions are taken and once the defense attorney has a fair chance to evaluate the case and damages.
If your attorney is unable to settle the case, then it is time to prepare for trial. Preparing for trial is an exhausting process for the attorneys and the client. It is true that many cases settle on the “court house steps” just hours before the trial starts. But by this point, it has been usually 1-2 years after the medical treatment for the injury has ended, discovery is closed, depositions of the parties and experts have been taken and thousands of dollars have been expended.
Once a plaintiff is in trial, jurors do not get to hear any evidence or testimony as to why the parties ended up in court. They will not be able to hear that the defendant’s insurance company has refused to pay a fair amount for the damages caused by their insured. They will not get to hear the months and years of delay tactics employed by the insurance company. In fact, attorneys and their clients are prohibited in Missouri courtrooms from even mentioning if there is insurance. If a plaintiff wins the trial, the jurors will not know how much of the verdict will be paid for by the insurance company (if there is one) and if the defendant will have to pay anything out of their own pocket.
Navigating the complex legal landscape in your personal injury case is difficult and expensive. Consult with a skilled injury attorney at Griggs Injury Law, LLC. We will fully explain your rights, as well as the risks and benefits of your case every step of the way and will pursue all avenues of recovery for you or your loved one.