How Many Car Accident Cases End Up in a Jury Trial in Virginia?
As an experienced personal injury lawyer in Virginia I can tell you that relatively few cases go all the way to a jury trial in Virginia. The fact is that the vast majority of personal injuries arising from automobile accidents are resolved at what’s called the claims phase meaning that they’re handled prior to a lawsuit needing to be filed.
You still are better off with a personal injury attorney to make sure that you get everything that you’re entitled to rather than trying to do it on your own. However this claims process is usually successful at reaching a satisfactory outcome that works for you at a number that the insurance company is willing to pay although it may take some time and effort to get them to agree to the correct fair number.
The minority of cases actually require a lawsuit to be filed. These days smaller claims with a total value under $25,000.00 can be filed in the General District Court, Civil Division. That court is able to handle the smaller personal injury cases somewhat more quickly and inexpensively than the Circuit Court which is used for bigger cases where the expected value is in excess of $25,000.00.
Even those cases that are filed in the Circuit Court don’t always go all the way to a jury trial. In fact what ends up happening in most cases where lawsuits are filed in the Circuit Court is that they are resolved at some stage before the actual jury trial. In the Circuit Court cases there is a process which includes written questions and exchange of documents between the parties including medical records and the taking of depositions which is asking questions under oath in a lawyer’s office.
In addition there may be other depositions and identification of expert witnesses that may take place to clarify on both sides what the doctors and other persons involved have to say about the injury and other losses. Typically though once everyone’s cards are on the table through that discovery process the case is going to get resolved because it becomes clear to both sides, the insurance company and the injured person and their attorney what the range of fair and proper value is meaning what a jury will likely do with the facts that have been shown.
So the only cases that tend to go all the way to a jury trial are those limited circumstances typically the bigger injury cases in my practice where the parties can’t agree on what the likely outcome will be even after all of the discovery has taken place. Usually that is in my experience the result of some insurance company failing to pay enough attention to grasp the full extent of the harms and losses to my client. So despite popular misconception there really is no problem of the courts in Virginia being clogged up with personal injury cases as full-blown jury trials are not typical and are almost rare.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car crash in Virginia, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.