Maybe, but going to court is more commonly a last resort. Cases can be resolved before having to file a lawsuit (settlement) or even after a lawsuit is filed. Also, the vast majority of cases require arbitration if a settlement cannot be reached, which means that going to court is the rarest of all possible results. Arbitration, while a formal process does not occur in a courtroom and usually lasts two hours or less. Cases often settle even before an arbitration occurs, and arbitration remains more likely than a court trial.
Data concerning the rate of settlement for personal injury cases are varied, though what is consistent about the statistics is that they demonstrate that it is more probable that a case will settle than go to court. The question most clients ask is when will my case settle? There is no accurate answer to this general question because each case is different in fact, client, defendant, and adjuster. The people involved are as important as what happened when it comes to settling a claim.
The settlement is the result of an agreement between the victim (client) and the insurance carrier for the person that injured the victim, whose representative is called an adjuster. If the client and the adjuster agree on a value, then the case settles. If they cannot agree on a value, then the case must be litigated before a jury or an arbitrator who then determines the value of the case. Thus, a settlement is most dependent upon the client and the adjuster, and their agreement to reach a value for the case that is acceptable to both. Anything that does not lead to shared value, will not settle. The decision to settle a case is solely in the power of a client and adjuster. An attorney may advise the client to settle or refrain from settling for a given value but the sole authority to accept a settlement always remains with the client.
A claim filed in an Arizona superior court requires the claimant to determine whether the claim is subject to arbitration or not subject to arbitration. Claims with an estimated value of $50,000 or less would be subject to arbitration while claims with an estimated value greater than $50,000 would be subject to trial, almost always a trial by jury. An arbitrator in Arizona is a randomly selected attorney that has been practicing for five years or more. Regardless of whether the case goes to arbitration or trial, the factors that are relied upon in determining the monetary compensation for any given injured victim is the same. A jury and an arbitrator must apply the law to the facts presented to them.