But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of all the rigmarole? Why go through the trouble and the expense of hiring a lawyer and waiting for months or even years for a result when you don’t even get your day in court?
The Legal Duel
The short answer is that by the time the trial is held, it’s already mostly over.
The real meat of a trial happens during what’s called the discovery process. During this phase, both sides investigate each other’s claims and, in the interest of fair play, they pass along what they learn to the other side. This gives the legal teams the chance to build up counterarguments which are then also passed along, and so it keeps going until both sides are satisfied that they’ve done everything they can.
Often enough, one side will manage to put together a case that’s so solid the other side can’t help but admit defeat. For a criminal case, this means either entering a plea bargain or else dismissing all charges, depending on who won, but for a civil case it means either dropping the claim or else settling on a payment out of court.
Settling has a number of advantages for both sides in a civil case. Legal fees typically go up when a case goes to trial for both plaintiff and defendant, and that’s beyond the added time it takes to schedule and conduct the trial itself. The defendant also gets the advantage of not having to disclose the settlement amount, plus they don’t have to admit fault.
Of course, there’s usually some implied fault that comes with paying off a plaintiff, but legally speaking admitting fault becomes very important when it comes to other cases which may be related. These benefits also help the plaintiff, because a defendant might be willing to pay just as much or more than what a jury would award in order to get these benefits.
At the same time, a trial rarely ends with the trial itself. The losing party very often will appeal the decision, and depending on how the appeal goes it could mean affirming the decision, reversing it, or sending it back down to be tried all over again. And if one party is unsatisfied, they will appeal to the next highest court, and then the next highest and the next highest until they either reach the top or a court rejects the appeal. This process can potentially add several more years to the process.
Because of these factors, it’s fair to say that the ultimate goal of most court battles is not to win the final conflict in open court, but rather to get the best possible result while you’re still in negotiations. While it may not be as satisfying as a win in court, it’s less unpredictable, less time-consuming, less expensive, and it can still give you a better result than simply accepting the first offer you receive.
Still, when you choose a law firm to represent you, you should choose one with the resources and the expertise it takes to bring a case all the way to court. Corporations and insurance companies keep track of which firms can go the distance, and they typically offer a larger settlement when a court battle is a real possibility. All Injuries Law Firm is one such firm, and while we can’t guarantee the results of a court battle, we do have what it takes to fight to the bitter end. And if you live in or near Port Charlotte or Fort Meyers in southwest Florida, contact us today for a free case review.