Do You Need a Trial Lawyer or a Settlement Lawyer?
Simple, right? You want a trial lawyer, someone who is ready to take on the insurance companies and take your case to a jury trial. Not so fast. The answer is not simple. Sometimes you want a trial lawyer and sometimes you want a settlement lawyer.
The vast majority of personal injury cases are settled. This is what most litigants want. Most people have a healthy fear of public speaking, and an even healthier fear of jury verdicts. Juries are unpredictable and most people would rather take a sure thing than roll the dice.
Jury verdicts for injury cases are way down over the last 20-30 years and that is not likely to change. Therefore, if you can work out a reasonable settlement, this is usually best. Early settlements hold down litigation costs and obviously are much less stressful than going to trial.
If you have a case that is not settleable, you should hire the best trial lawyer you can find. For example, most medical malpractice cases are virtually impossible to settle. But if your case can be settled, if you hire a lawyer who doesn’t focus properly on packaging the case with a view towards settlement, you will find yourself with little choice but to roll the dice at trial.
In almost every case, you really want an attorney who is both a trial lawyer and a settlement lawyer. You want a lawyer who knows how to prepare the case so that the insurance company will see that it needs to settle. But that lawyer also needs to be ready, willing and able to take the case to trial if the settlement offer never reaches a reasonable level.