How Often Will a Workers’ Compensation Case Go to Trial?

by James M. Hoffmann on Oct. 16, 2023

Employment Workers' Compensation Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Approximately 5% of all workers’ comp claims go to trial. Most claims get settled through mediation, arbitration, or out-of-court settlements. Going to trial can be costly and lengthy for employees.

While most people file workers’ comp claims hoping for a seamless process, this is not often the case. There are many hurdles to getting a proper settlement for your workers’ comp. Uncooperative employers, difficult insurers, and botched medical procedures can hinder you from getting your workers’ comp benefit. In fact, approximately 7% of workers comp claims get denied annually.


Employees can go to trial if they have been low-balled or feel their workers' comp claim has been wrongly denied. Legal representatives of both parties will argue their case in court. The court will have the final say over the claim's validity and settlement amount. Below, we’ll examine how often claims go to trial and what happens during these trials.


Workers’ Compensation Claims and Trials

It’s commonly estimated that around 5% of all workers’ comp claims go to trial, but that doesn’t mean the rest sail through seamlessly. Many workers’ comp claims get settled via mediation, arbitration, or out-of-court settlements. Most employees choose to avoid going to trial because of the hassle and legal costs. However, sometimes doing so works in your best interest.


Why Do Only a Few Workers’ Compensation Cases Go to Trial?

Unlike personal injury and other insurance claims, the claimant in workers’ compensation cases doesn’t have to prove fault. Employees only have to show that their injury or illness resulted from work activities. This is much easier to prove than playing the blame game, eliminating the need to go to trial.


Factors to Consider Before Going to Trial for Your Workers’ Compensation

Choosing to go to trial when pursuing your workers’ compensation claim can be difficult. Here are a few factors to consider before you decide to go to trial:


Attorney’s Advice

Your attorney’s interest is to expedite the claims process so you can receive your rightful benefits as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation attorneys have years of experience handling different worker's compensation cases and are better suited to determining whether you should go to trial. Most will only resort to this after mediation and arbitration fails.


Treatment and Health Conditions

Workers’ compensation trials can be lengthy and grueling, dragging on for months and sometimes years. You’re better off postponing the case until you’re fairly recuperated and can handle the ups and downs of the court process. That way, you can have the physical and mental strength to push for the best outcome.


Backlog of Cases

Pursuing a trial for your workers’ comp may not be worth it if the court has a huge backlog of similar cases. That’s because you’ll have to wait until the backlog is cleared before you can pursue your trial. Settling might be a better option if you don’t have the financial capacity to sustain yourself while waiting for the backlog to clear. 


We Can Help With Your Workers' Comp Claim/Trial

Your workers’ comp case should generally only go to trial when you’ve exhausted all other options. A skilled Missouri workers' compensation attorney can help you get the benefits you need and deserve to move forward. 


Contact The Law Office of James. M. Hoffman 24/7 for a free consultation. We have over 30 years of experience and have helped thousands of injured Missouri workers get the benefits they deserve. Call (314) 361-4300.

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