Do I Need a Trial-Ready Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent My Accident Case

Negligence on the road, in the hospital, or in some other setting has caused you undue suffering. You believe that you can secure significant personal injury damages, but before you proceed with your case, you must select a trustworthy attorney.

Personal injury law covers a lot of ground, but as you browse your options, you'll notice two main patterns: lawyers who advocate a quick solution to your legal woes and settlement above all else, or trial-ready lawyers who are prepared to navigate all phases of the legal process, including litigation. Although only four to five percent of personal injury matters go to trial, all cases hold the potential for courtroom proceedings.

What Is Trial-Readiness?

At surface level, trial-readiness is exactly as it appears: the ability to take a personal injury case to trial. Technically, all personal injury lawyers should be prepared to appear in court. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Trial-ready lawyers are not always easy to identify. The following are just a few of the many qualities they tend to exhibit:


Trial-ready lawyers typically possess extensive experience in court. They have appeared before judges and juries on numerous occasions, and are well-versed with all aspects of the legal process. This experience has provided a degree of confidence not otherwise possible. They know that they have the ability to secure a favorable outcome, because they have previously done so under worse circumstances. This confidence ultimately rubs off on their clients, who feel less anxious as a result.


A trial-ready lawyer understands that the best case outcomes require patience. Many attorneys advertise quick fixes, but the most substantial damages arrive after lawyers methodically put together the strongest possible case. Instead of rushing through the evidence and missing important insights, trial-ready lawyers utilize a detail-oriented approach, in which every avenue is pursued in preparation for potential grilling in court. Even if the case ultimately does not go to trial, a trial-ready lawyer's patience makes him or her more capable of securing a large settlement.


Some lawyers prefer the shelter and security of non-adversarial matters. They shy away from high-stakes cases that could quickly damage their reputation in the event of a negative outcome. Trial-ready lawyers, however, are eager to take on new challenges. They chase difficult, but winnable cases. These matters sometimes receive significant public attention, but that does not deter these attorneys. Their visibility in court means that clients, jury members, and opposing counsel all witness their impressive legal acumen. As a result, they are highly regarded throughout the legal industry.

Why Should I Work With a Trial-Ready Lawyer?

Not all personal injury attorneys are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a courtroom setting. Ideally, your attorney will boast an impressive track record, and the ability to successfully take your case to trial, if necessary.

Settlement Is Never Guaranteed

In many cases, the client and attorney's chief goal is to arrive at a swift and satisfactory settlement. This approach tends to be less expensive and less stressful, but it's not always possible. If the opposing party is not amenable to settlement, litigation may prove inevitable. It's not prudent to overlook trial-readiness with the intent of settling your case, because there is no guarantee that the opposing side will play ball. You need to be prepared for the worst case scenario. This will provide valuable peace of mind; as you seek settlement, you can take solace in knowing that you'll receive the best possible representation if your case goes to trial.

A Trial Mentality Ensures Effective Legal Strategy

Even if lawyers don't anticipate needing to go to trial, their overarching legal strategy should include this outcome as a real possibility. Lawyers can continue to aim for settlement while still gathering and analyzing evidence in a way that thoroughly prepares their clients for court. The aggressive approach most likely to lead to a successful courtroom outcome can also prove useful in a settlement context, with trial-ready lawyers more likely to walk away with significant settlements.

Taking the Long View

Perhaps there's more to your personal injury proceedings than a mere desire for cash. This could be about a greater moral failing, or a desire for long-term change. This can best be delivered through a public trial, which will raise awareness far beyond anything settlement could accomplish. A trial-ready lawyer understands your wish to enact lasting change, and is eager to help you achieve this lofty goal.

For example: in pursuing punitive damages for car defects, brave victims of negligence have helped to prevent future injuries and fatalities. This is exactly what happened when jurors held Ford liable for tread separation defects on the E350 passenger van. A very public case resulted in extensive compensatory and punitive damages, and caused many prospective customers to shy away from potentially defective Ford vans. Goodyear ultimately agreed to replace outdated tire models. Had attorneys in this case agreed to settlement earlier on, Ford would have little incentive to protect future passengers.

Lawyer selection could make all the difference as you attempt to hold a negligent business or individual accountable. Your goal may be to avoid trial at all costs, but even so, it behooves you to work with an attorney who has navigated the courtroom process on numerous occasions. Your lawyer should be proactive, strategic, and aggressive — qualities associated with trial-readiness. Vet your options carefully and choose the attorney you feel is most capable of defending your best interests, no matter which route your case takes.