No, not all personal injury claims go to trial. A vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court before they reach the trial phase. This settlement process is a negotiation between the injured party (plaintiff) and the party alleged to be responsible for the injury (defendant), often involving their respective insurance companies and legal representatives. Settlements can be negotiated and agreed upon at any stage of the process, from the initial stages of making a claim, even before a formal lawsuit is filed, through to the pre-trial phases once litigation has commenced.
Settling out of court is frequently preferred by both parties involved in a personal injury case. The primary reason for this preference is to avoid the uncertainties and significant expenses associated with a trial. Trials can be unpredictable; even with strong evidence, the outcome can never be guaranteed. Moreover, trials are public records, which some parties may prefer to avoid for privacy reasons. Additionally, the legal costs and the time commitment required for a trial are substantial. Settlements, on the other hand, allow for a more controlled resolution where both parties can have a say in the outcome, often resulting in a compromise that is acceptable to both sides.
However, if a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, the case may proceed to trial. At trial, the outcome is in the hands of a judge or jury, depending on the nature of the trial. They will make a decision based on the evidence presented by both parties. While going to trial is less common, it remains an important mechanism for resolving disputes that cannot be settled through negotiation, ensuring that the plaintiff has an avenue for seeking justice when settlement discussions fail.