DC and Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Allyson Kitchel at trial

"Am I going to have to go to trial?" 

When faced with a personal injury case, one of the most common questions people have is, "Am I going to have to go to trial?" The thought of going to court can be daunting, and it's completely understandable to feel apprehensive about having your personal matters aired in a courtroom. Trials can be long, emotionally draining, and can involve public exposure of your personal details. The formal procedures and legal jargon can make the whole process feel overwhelming, especially if you've never been through it before. 

But here’s the good news: most cases don’t go to trial. In fact, most of or the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. This means both parties agree on a compensation amount without needing a judge or jury to decide. Settling is usually quicker and less stressful, and it keeps your personal matters private. At Kitchel Law, we work hard to resolve cases efficiently and effectively, so you can feel comfortable and confident throughout the process. Our goal is to provide compassionate support and expert guidance, helping you get through this with as little disruption to your life as possible.

Settlement vs Trial 

At Kitchel Law, we find that about 90% of the cases we handle are settled outside of court. This high rate of settlement happens because both insurance companies and clients prefer to avoid the uncertainties and expenses of a trial. Trials can be unpredictable, with outcomes depending on many factors, like the judge's and jury's perspectives, witness testimony, and the intricacies of legal arguments. So, both parties usually have strong reasons to settle. 

Settlements have many benefits. First, they significantly reduce stress. Trials are emotionally exhausting when your personal health is at issue and you will have to testify. Settling means you can avoid this stress, focus on your recovery, and move forward with your life. 

Second, settlements are cost-effective. Trials are expensive, with legal fees, court costs, and expenses for gathering evidence and hiring expert witnesses adding up quickly. Trials also take a lot of time. Settling means you can avoid these costs and get compensated faster, which provides much-needed financial relief without prolonged legal battles. 

Finally, settlements offer predictability. In a trial, the decision is in the hands of a judge or jury, and there’s always an element of uncertainty. With a settlement, both parties agree on the compensation, providing peace of mind and a clear path forward. 

At Kitchel Law, we work to resolve cases efficiently and effectively, prioritizing your well-being and best interests. We aim for fair settlements that meet your needs while minimizing the stress and costs of going to trial. Our compassionate, expert legal support guides you through every step of the settlement process. 

Control Over Your Case 

It’s important to understand that you have control over your case every step of the way. At Kitchel Law, we empower our clients to make informed decisions about their legal journey. It is for you to decide whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed to trial. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of a trial, you can choose to settle. Your comfort and peace of mind are paramount, and we ensure you feel confident and supported throughout the process. 

Every personal injury case is unique. The decision to go to trial or settle depends on various factors, like the specifics of your injury, the evidence, and your personal circumstances. Our role as your personal injury attorney is to provide comprehensive guidance, presenting all options and potential outcomes. We thoroughly explain the benefits and risks of settling and going to trial, so you have all the information needed to make the best decision for your situation. 

We are committed to advocating for your best interests. When your case is finished, we want you to be thrilled with how you were treated. If you decide to pursue a settlement, we negotiate vigorously on your behalf to secure fair compensation. If you choose to go to trial, we prepare meticulously to present a strong case in court. Regardless of your path, we stand by your side, offering expert legal advice, emotional support, and unwavering dedication to achieving a favorable outcome. 

Our primary goal is to make you feel in control and empowered throughout your case so you don’t have to worry. We understand this is a challenging time, and our compassionate approach aims to alleviate your stress and provide clarity. At Kitchel Law, you are not just a client; you are a valued partner in the legal process. Your decisions shape your case, and we support you, respect your choices, and work tirelessly to achieve the justice you deserve. 

Factors Influencing Settlement 

Several factors can influence whether your personal injury case will settle. Understanding these elements can help you navigate the process more effectively. At Kitchel Law, we consider these critical factors when working towards a settlement: 

Strength of Liability Evidence: Strong evidence supporting the fault of the over driver is crucial. We will consider the strength of your explanation of the crash, police reports, witness statements, and any photographic or video evidence. When the evidence clearly shows the other party's liability, it’s harder for them to dispute your case. This often encourages them to settle to avoid the risks of losing at trial. 

Strength of Damages Evidence: Strong evidence supporting your injuries is crucial. If you have not sought medical treatment, you do not have a strong case. If there are long delays between the crash and medical care, it is difficult to prove the crash caused your injuries. The medical records are key – when they demonstrate that you are doing your best to recover, this convinces the insurance companies that a fair settlement is in their best interest.  This often encourages them to settle to avoid the costs and risks of trial. 

Insurance Company Policies: Insurance companies have different policies and practices. Some settle claims quickly to avoid litigation costs, while others may contest claims to minimize payouts. Understanding the insurer’s approach and having a strategic plan to deal with their tactics is essential. At Kitchel Law, we have extensive experience with various insurance companies and can tailor our approach to handle each one effectively. 

Insurance Coverage Limits: If an injury is severe and there is a low amount of insurance coverage relative to the injury, the insurance company is likely to settle quickly. You should never make assumptions about how much insurance coverage might be available – at Kitchel Law, we are experts and finding all of the available coverage.  

Legal Strategy: Your attorney's negotiation skills and legal strategy are pivotal in reaching a favorable settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney will gather and present strong evidence, craft persuasive arguments, and anticipate the other party’s moves. Effective negotiation requires a deep understanding of the law and the ability to counter the other party convincingly. At Kitchel Law, our team is adept at negotiating with insurance companies and opposing counsel to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. 

Other Factors: Other factors can also affect settlement decisions. These include the financial needs and urgency of the injured party, the willingness of both parties to compromise, and the case's specific circumstances, like the severity of injuries and potential long-term impacts. The perceived fairness of the proposed settlement can influence whether both parties agree to resolve the case outside of court. 

Understanding these factors and how they interact in your specific case can provide clarity and direction. At Kitchel Law, we are committed to guiding you through this complex process with expertise and compassion, ensuring you are well-informed and confident in every decision you make. 

A Personal Injury Attorney That Is Prepared for Both Outcomes 

While most cases settle, it's still crucial to prepare for a trial. At Kitchel Law, we leave nothing to chance and prepare each case thoroughly from the start. We assume the case is going to trial until it is not. We ensure every piece of evidence is meticulously gathered, every witness carefully interviewed, and every legal argument strategically crafted. This thorough preparation equips us to advocate effectively for you in court if necessary and serves as a powerful negotiation tool. When the opposing party sees we are fully prepared to go to trial, they are often more inclined to settle, recognizing our strong and ready position. This dual approach of rigorous preparation and strategic negotiation gives our clients the best possible chance for a favorable outcome, whether through settlement or trial. 


1. What happens if my case does go to trial? 

If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will hear both sides and decide based on the evidence. This process includes pre-trial motions, jury selection, opening statements, witness testimony, closing arguments, and the final verdict. 

2. How long does a trial typically last? 

The duration of a trial varies widely depending on the case's complexity, the court's schedule, and other factors. Some trials last a few days, while others can extend over several weeks. 

3. Can I change my mind about settling or going to trial? 

Yes, you can change your mind about settling or going to trial until a settlement is finalized or the trial begins. Communicate openly with your attorney about any concerns or changes in your decision. 

4. How will I be prepared for trial? 

If your case goes to trial, your attorney will prepare you thoroughly. This preparation includes helping you understand the court process, practicing your testimony, and knowing what to expect during the trial. 

5. What are the risks of going to trial? 

The primary risk of going to trial is the uncertainty of the outcome. Even with strong evidence, there is no guarantee of winning the case. Additionally, trials can be lengthy and costly. 

6. What are the benefits of going to trial? 

Full compensation. Insurance companies are always looking for a bargain. When they do not offer full and fair compensation, we recommend to our clients that we go to trial to force the insurance company to pay. The decision belongs to the client.  


The thought of going to trial can be intimidating but remember that most cases are settled out of court. At Kitchel Law, we are committed to providing compassionate and professional support, ensuring you feel in control of your case. If you have any concerns or questions about the legal process, please don't hesitate to reach out. Your peace of mind and well-being are our top priorities here.

For more information or to discuss your specific case, contact Kitchel Law today. As your personal injury attorney, we are here to help you navigate your legal journey with confidence and care. 

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