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Most Cases Don’t Need A Day In Court

It’s often the case that people who are new to lawsuits and litigation think that every case goes to trial, complete with a 12-person jury, surprise witnesses or evidence, and finally a ruling by the jury that will stand as the final word. However, this cinematic view of civil lawsuits takes a lot of liberties with how real suits work. In some ways, real-world lawsuits are simpler than this conception of the legal system, and in other ways, it’s much, much more complicated.

A Majority Of Cases Never Go To Trial

This is for one simple reason: settlements. At any time before the jury gives a verdict, both sides of a lawsuit can settle with each other. The terms of this settlement can be just about anything: money, an admission of fault, a replacement of lost property, and so on. So long as both sides agree to the terms, the lawsuit becomes settled and stops there. There are several reasons why this is the most common result:

• Bringing a suit to trial costs more money than settling out of court.
• One side turns out to have solid evidence that the other side can’t refute.
• Both sides agree to go to arbitration instead of court.

Civil Cases Don’t Have 12-Person Juries

This can actually depend on which state and what kind of civil case you’re looking at. The United States is fairly unique in having juries for civil as well as criminal cases, but it’s more common to see six jury members for a civil case. In Florida, at least, personal injury cases typically get a six-person jury.

No Surprises Allowed

The discovery process has ruined a lot of real-world courtroom drama, but then that’s a good thing if you’re one of the parties involved. Every party of a civil or criminal case has a right to see the evidence the other side plans to bring to the trial. This is so they can create a defense against that evidence using arguments or evidence of their own (and the other side can see this evidence, too). This process is a big part of what’s called discovery, the time when both sides get to prepare for the trial.

Not Every Ruling Is Final

Once a jury makes its ruling, the losing side has a right to appeal. They can make this appeal for one of several reasons:

• A legal error, such as an illegal search or a misapplied law.
• The judge made an error when giving the jury instructions.
• The winning side had a lack of convincing evidence, which suggests the jury may have been biased.

Once one side appeals the ruling, the other side can submit their own arguments in favor of the ruling. If the appeals court accepts the case, both sides will argue before the judges and the judges will accept the original ruling, overturn it, or send it back for a retrial depending on what they think is the best option. One side can then appeal the case to a higher court and so on until a court refuses to see the case.

Of course, if you want more details about how your case will likely go, you should speak to a lawyer in person. If you live in southwest Florida, you should look up the All Injuries Law Firm. Our practice area includes personal injuries of all kinds, such as auto accidents, workplace injuries, premises liability cases, wrongful deaths, and more. Contact us today to get a free initial case review.