Many people who suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence want to know if their case will go to trial. Many of these people are terrified by the thought of a trial. Many would prefer not to go to trial on their cases, but are willing to if necessary. Very few actually flat out want their matters to proceed to trial.
The truth is that a great majority of personal injury cases do not go to trial. In fact, many cases are settled without even the filing a lawsuit. Others may require a lawsuit, but settle before trial. Very few go all the way to trial. That being said, if you have a personal injury case, get yourself a trial lawyer.
The reason so many injury cases settle without a trial is because of the uncertainty of what can happen at trial. You really never know what a jury will do with a case – how they will respond to the evidence, the parties, the witnesses, the attorneys… In order to avoid this uncertainty (and the significant expenses it takes to properly try a personal injury case), most cases settle.
Well, if most cases settle, then that begs the question of “Does it really matter what lawyer I hire to represent me in my Illinois personal injury case?” No hesitation on this response, which is – ABSOLUTELY! Insurance companies know the lawyers who are timid about taking cases to court and if necessary, to trial. Those lawyers will not get the same settlement offer as a lawyer who is trial-tested and has a long track record of success both in and out of the courtroom.
At Willens & Baez, you will often hear, “Hope for peace. Prepare for war.” We prepare all of our cases as if they are going to go to trial. Even though we know that most cases settle, in our experience handling personal injury cases (and that’s all we do), maximum settlements are reached when the insurance companies see that you’re ready and willing to go “all the way” if necessary.
An attorney with little or no trial experience (most attorneys) is just not going to command respect from the company issuing the settlement check, mainly the insurance company. In addition, it is important to find an attorney who is responsive to your inquiries, who is experienced/skilled (not just old) in handling personal injury cases and someone you trust. After all, it’s the attorney who is going to make recommendations on whether to settle a particular case (and for how much) or try it. His or her recommendations on settlement will mean much more to you if there is a trusting relationship.