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How to Determine If You Should Take Your Case to Court

Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2020

Should I take my case to trial? If you are injured or someone you love is hurt or killed, this is a decision that, at some point, you will need to make. It can be tough choosing whether to settle or take your case to trial, so it’s important that you speak with an experienced trial attorney to make that decision. A board-certified trial attorney has the certification and experience to know how to work with experts to provide insight into what your case is worth based on your injury, medical costs, along with lost earnings now and in the future. It’s an important decision whether to accept a settlement offer or go to trial. This is why choosing a law firm with trial experience and successful results is invaluable.

Here are some factors you should consider to help guide you in selecting the right attorney and deciding whether to take your case to trial.

Why Is Being Board Certified A Big Deal?

For attorneys that earn this important distinction, being board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) means that the attorney has been held to a higher standard of professional and personal conduct.  Certificate holders undergo a thorough screening of their credentials, including documentation of their experience, judicial and peer references, an exam, and they must report all disciplinary matters brought before any official body, whether public or private, for scrutiny by the NBTA Standards Committee. NBTA lawyers maintain active trial practices and are required to submit a disclosure of misconduct annually and, at the end of each five-year term, prove once again they meet the standards for recertification.  Not all lawyers who take cases to trial are board certified so it’s important you ask if they are before you hire them.

Should I Take My Case to Trial?

Once you are working with a board certified trial attorney, he or she can walk you through the benefits and risks of taking your case to trial. The answer can often depend on what you are looking to get out of your case. If you feel that the person, insurance company or business did something terribly wrong that resulted in injury or death or denied you compensation that you deserve, then having a jury hear your case can be rewarding and help you feel heard and valued. Verdicts are public record so there will be documentation that the defendant was held accountable for their wrongdoing should the jury’s verdict be in your favor. Winning your case in court can also provide a more meaningful closure to the injured party and family.

Is Going to Trial Really Worth it?

There is the potential to receive a larger financial award from a jury as opposed to settlement. In most settlement cases the opposing side will offer what they think your pain and suffering is worth.  But in the case of a jury trial, there are twelve people who will listen to what happened, how you were hurt, and how the defendant’s negligence caused you to incur medical costs and impacted your life and livelihood now and in the future. If the jury rules in your favor, they could also award you additional compensation for pain and suffering or punitive damages. That is another reason why having an experienced board-certified trial attorney is so critical.  They will have the skills and experience to know how to best present your case at trial.

Risks of Settling a Case

Settling out of court can result in a smaller compensation offer. In an out of court settlement, the defendant evades being held accountable for their misdeeds. They can also require that the settlement amount be kept confidential. If your injury or a death occurred because of their gross negligence, telling your story to a jury and having a public record, or even media coverage, may help others avoid similar injuries. When cases are settled outside the court room, the settlements often do not account for punitive damages, like emotional trauma, fear, or anxiety resulting from the incident. Some law firms’ first option is to settle their cases rather than go to trial because it can be a faster and easier way to resolve legal matters. Those firms prefer to settle a greater quantity of cases rather than put the time, effort, research, preparation and investment into preparing a case for trial. Be wary of any firm that presents settling as your first and best option without doing the research into the details and mitigating factors into your case.

Finding the Right Law Firm

When looking for a law firm, look to see how many board certified trial attorneys it has and ask how many cases the firm has taken to trial and their success rate.  A good place to start is with an attorney you’ve hired for an unrelated matter; they will give you referrals to firms that specialize in your type of case.  You can use a resource like Super Lawyers, who provides a select list of high caliber attorneys along with their areas of expertise, their years of experience and any credentials, additional certifications or awards they have received.  Once you’ve determined the attorney has a successful record and the right credentials, make sure you are comfortable working with them.  You will spend a good amount of time with them as they prepare your case and no client wants to spend a large amount of time with someone they do not like.

Why Coker Law

At Coker Law we have more board certified trial attorneys than any other law firm in the First Coast area.  Our approach is to prepare every case as if we’re going to trial. Coker Law also has the financial resources to properly prepare your case by acquiring trusted expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.  We use a multi-media specialist to create exceptional visual presentations to walk the jury through the defendant’s negligence and your injuries.  We also have a full-time investigative team to uncover anything beneficial to your case that the defendants may be withholding.  Our firm has staff members fluent in Russian, Portuguese, Italian, English, and Spanish. Our law firm has acquired a national reputation for fighting for full value on every case we litigate.

If You’re the Victim of Negligence, What Should You Do?

Coker Law’s attorneys can help you recover financial compensation for the full amount of your losses, including medical and rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages or income. If you have been injured, contact our office to discuss your injuries and we will evaluate whether you have a case and what type of claim would be appropriate to make on your behalf.  To speak with a Coker Law attorney or for more information call (904) 356-6071, or click here to schedule a free consultation.