What Happens If I Lose My Case?

Many clients and criminal defense attorneys push through court cases in the hopes of gaining a favorable outcome for their side. Depending on the type of case, a victory can bring both financial compensation and a sense of closure. For personal injury victims, a win in court means the liable party will cover some or all medical costs and back pay, and victims can focus on their recovery instead of worrying about bills.

However, not all court cases end in victory. A lack of evidence in the victim’s favor or the opinion of the jury can result in a loss. For victims hoping to recover some of their medical costs, this result can come as a major financial and psychological blow.

Options as the Losing Party

If you have recently lost a personal injury case, you likely have questions about your next steps. Is a losing court verdict the end? How will you handle your medical bills? Fortunately, options do exist after a personal injury loss.

Potential for New Trial or Appeal

In the event of a loss, your attorney may request a new trial. If the court grants a new trial, you and your attorney can then work to point out flaws in evidence and errors in judgment that resulted in the initial verdict. Even if the court does not grant the new trial request, your attorney can take steps to appeal the decision.

There may also be a chance you can reach a settlement with the other party to help cover your medical costs. However, if the court has already given a verdict in favor of the other party, your chances of settlement are lower than before the trial has taken place.

Paying Medical Costs

Most healthcare providers are willing to wait on payments if you have informed them you are pursuing a personal injury claim. These can involve signed agreements, and you are still responsible for covering your medical costs, even if the court does not rule in your favor.

If paying the costs is not a readily available option for you, options still exist. You may be able to:

  • File a health insurance claim
  • File an auto insurance claim
  • Set up a payment plan with your healthcare provider

When setting up a payment, it can be possible to earn a discount if you pay the balance in one payment, depending on the provider.

If your accident has left you in dire financial straits, bankruptcy may be an option. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow for liquidation of assets to cover costs, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for you to pay off your debt over time with the potential for debt forgiveness after the bankruptcy period. Ask your attorney about which option is best for your situation.

Legal Fees

Heading to court is expensive, and the potential for legal fees on top of medical bills following a lost trial can be a daunting prospect. In the event of a victory, compensation can help cover attorney costs, though the same luxury doesn’t apply when the court doesn’t rule in your favor. To prevent this risk, be aware of these factors when selecting your attorney:

  • Working on contingency – Many lawyers will work on a contingency basis, meaning that they do not receive any payment until you have earned a victory in court. To further reduce financial strain, the contingency amount is often a percentage of your compensation earnings. Be sure that your attorney works on contingency before selecting who to represent your case.
  • History of success – When consulting your potential lawyer, be sure to ask about a history of success. Law offices that are hesitant to share previous victories and compensation amounts earned may not provide the most reliable support in court.

Losing a case can bring great financial and emotional strain, but it does not have to overshadow the rest of your life.