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Are We Going to Trial?

New clients often ask upfront whether they are going to have to go to trial. The true answer is “it depends” on a variety of factors including:

  • whether liability or fault is in question or unclear;

  • whether the claimed injury or injuries or their severity are disputed;

  • which insurer or insurers are on the other side;

  • which attorneys are on the other side;

  • whether the insurer or insurers made a fair settlement offer before trial; and

  • the client’s expectations and opinion about the value of the case before trial.

The full value of any case will many times be realized only through a jury trial. That said, the reality is that very few cases will ever go before a jury.

Indiana Trial Court Statistics for 2017

Indiana’s trial court statistics for 2017 are worth considering. 1,038,098 cases concluded in Indiana trial courts during 2017. Of that number, there were 1,101 total jury trials. This means that only 0.1% of all Indiana trial court cases were disposed of through a jury trial in 2017.  

In 2017, there were 165 civil tort jury trials in Indiana. This means that jury trials involving injury claims and other torts were 0.015% of all trial court case dispositions statewide during 2017.

Porter County & Lake County Trial Court Statistics for 2017

Porter County trial courts disposed of 29,252 cases in 2017 and 23 were by way of jury trial. This is approximately 0.078% of all Porter County trial court case dispositions. Only 8 of the jury trials in Porter County involved injury or tort cases. This means that 0.027% of all Porter County trial court cases that ended in 2017 involved a jury considering an injury or other tort claim.

Lake County trial courts disposed of 127,430 cases in 2017. 51 of those dispositions were by way of a jury trial or 0.04%.  26 of Lake County’s jury trials involved injury claims or civil torts which equals 0.02% of all Lake County trial court dispositions.

Statistically speaking, an average injury claimant in Indiana will never come close to exercising their 7th Amendment right to a jury trial.  The odds of an average player getting a hole in one in golf are roughly 10,000 to 1 (0.01% probability). If you file a lawsuit in Indiana, you only have slightly better odds of seeing a jury trial than getting a hole in one!

Brian Custy