Toledo Personal Injury Attorney

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Toledo, OH 43604

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Bitten by a dog? Act now to preserve your rights!

In addition to experiencing frightening attacks, dog-bite victims often are left with permanent scars. If you’ve been bitten by a dog,  you’re likely entitled to compensation for your current and future medical bills, the pain you experienced, and your mental suffering. Contact Dale Emch at 419-241-1150 immediately to protect your claim.

Dale's Blog

Will I have to go to trial if I make a personal injury claim?
Published Wednesday, July 9, 2014 12:00 pm

The vast majority of personal injury claims result in settlements, even if a lawsuit has to be filed. Settlements make sense for both sides because they offer a certain result. Going to trial is a gamble for both parties. For the plaintiff – the injured party – the risk is that the jury will find that the defendant isn’t liable for the claimed injuries or will award less money than the insurance company offered prior to the trial. For the defendant, the risk is that the jury awards the plaintiff more money than he would have accepted in a settlement. The old adage is that if a case has to go to trial, one side or the other has misevaluated its case.  While that’s not always true, there’s a lot of truth to that statement. (My book Don't Wreck Your Ohio Car Accident Case - 5 Tips for Handling Your Personal Injury Claim contains information that may be helpful to you if you've been in a car accident. To receive a free copy of my book, please call 419-241-1150.)

Experienced personal injury attorneys won’t try to settle your case before you’re completely finished treating. It generally makes little sense to settle a claim if the injured party is still treating because you don’t know the full value of the medical bills or the length of time the pain will continue. People trying to represent themselves can make the mistake of grabbing money waved under their noses by insurance adjusters. It’s almost always a mistake. If your injuries cause you to treat for many months or even years, your attorney may seek an expert report from a doctor that contemplates the cost for your future treatment and the anticipated impact on your life.

Sometimes, lawsuits must be filed because the insurance company won’t offer fair compensation for the injury or the deadline for filing suit is approaching. Filing suit tends to delay the resolution of the claim. It’s not uncommon for a trial date to be set a year after the initial pre-trial, depending on the Court’s schedule and the nature of the case. If a lawsuit has to be filed, the client needs to be prepared for the emotional ups and downs of litigation. The client also must understand that he’ll have to appear at a deposition, which is an examination by a lawyer for the insurance company under oath in front of a court reporter. Depositions are stress-inducing events for clients both because they’re unfamiliar with the process and because they’re on the hot seat. The opposing attorney can delve into the injured person’s background and ask questions that have nothing to do with the accident. The questions are designed as much to see what type of witness the injured person would make if the case goes to trial as they are to gather information. Experienced personal injury attorneys will meet with the client ahead of time to prepare them for the process and to provide a sense of what questions can be anticipated. Your attorney will be at your side during the deposition to make sure your rights are protected, but the questions can be far more wide ranging than would be allowed at trial.

Depositions tend to give both sides a clearer picture of how the case might play out at trial and can pave the way for a settlement. Sometimes, though, honest differences of opinion as to the issue of liability and case value will force the case to trial. Clients need to be prepared for what can be an interesting but difficult event. Depending on the complexity of the case, trials can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The injured person will have to testify in open court in front of a judge and jury and will have to listen to defense witnesses and the defense attorney try to minimize the severity of the injuries. And in the end, the final decision rests in the hands of eight strangers who probably aren’t thrilled that they’ve been selected for jury duty. So, trials can be tough ordeals, but sometimes they’re simply necessary.