What’s the Difference Between a Trial Lawyer and Settlement Lawyer?

Oregon trial lawyer
Our attorneys are proud members of the AAJ, which shows our commitment to justice through the civil trial process.

A Trial lawyer can be a beneficial aide to your case, or someone you want to avoid. Your potential Portland personal injury lawyer may go to court often because they may not be as skilled at negotiating, and feel that they can get a higher value for a case only through a trial.

There Are Some Lawyers Who Refuse to Go to Trial

Do not hire a lawyer who is unwilling to go to trial. That is the single most important piece of advice we can give you about hiring a personal injury lawyer. In our opinion, lawyers who are unwilling to go to trial should not be taking personal injury cases.

Some trial lawyers may also only have experience with criminal trials, which in the case of a personal injury, may not help you as much. Other trial attorneys enjoy having many cases, and find that they cannot tell them apart. These types of lawyers you should avoid–every personal injury victim deserves a legal ally that will devote as much attention to them as possible.

The Problem with “Settlement Lawyers”

Here’s the deal: insurance companies know who the so-called “settlement lawyers” are. Since they know that a “settlement lawyer” will never go to court, they have nothing to lose by only making low offers. It is our belief that if you want to get the full value of what your case is worth, your lawyer absolutely has to be willing to go to trial.

But beware of the opposite extreme: the “cowboy” lawyer who is overly eager to go to trial. To this end, you should be cautious of those lawyers who advertise that they have been to trial hundreds of times. They might have lots of criminal trial experience without much personal injury trial know-how; they might be poor negotiators who can only get the full value of a case by going to trial; and they might just have too many cases to keep track of.

The point is that how often your lawyer actually goes to trial doesn’t matter much. What does matter is that your lawyer is “willing” to go to trial. So long as the insurance company knows your lawyer is willing to go to trial, they will be more likely to make a reasonable offer. Though sometimes that offer does not come until the day of trial.

The Bottom Line with Trial Lawyers

With that being said, any trial lawyer would serve you better than one that never enters the courtroom. In our opinion, “settlement attorneys” should not be allowed to practice law. Insurance companies prefer these attorneys and call them “settlement lawyers.” They know that settlement lawyers are unwilling to take your case as far as it needs to go, so before hiring a lawyer for your Oregon personal injury case, check with them as to whether or not they will go to trial. This is an important step that you shouldn’t overlook.