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Do You Have to Go to Trial to Obtain Compensation for Your Injury?

When someone else causes your injury, whether through a car accident, dangerous property conditions, medical malpractice or a defective product, you may hesitate to consult with a lawyer because you don’t want to testify in court. You may prefer to deal with an insurance company rather than face an intimidating trial rife with questions, legal terms and procedures you may not understand. If this is your reason for not seeking legal guidance, here is why you should reconsider:

In 2004, The American Bar Association (ABA) released “The Vanishing Trial,” an article that cited the following statistics:

  • In 1962, there were 5,802 civil trials in federal courts.
  • In 2002, there were 4,569 civil trials in federal courts.

Despite the fact that there were five times as many civil case filings in 2002 than in 1962, the number of actual civil cases that went to trial dropped. Note, however, that the majority of civil trials are in state courts. Yet, from 1976 through 2002, state civil jury trials dropped by 28 percent and represented only .06 percent of the total civil dispositions. Today, the vast majority of personal injury cases settle out of court through negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration.

When an insurance company assures you that you do not need a lawyer, it does so for its own advantage, not yours. Insurance company attorneys and insurance adjusters have a much easier time negotiating a low settlement with you than with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Today’s legal strategies are mostly geared toward winning at the negotiating table, and a skilled California law firm can help you recover damages for your injuries.

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