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3 Basic Personal Injury Case Options

When someone causes you a personal injury or damages your property, you can demand compensation for the damages inflicted. If they refuse or if they don’t give you the full amount, you can file a civil lawsuit against them, and if the amount you’re suing for is more than what the small-claims court will handle then you can ask for a trial by jury.

The United States isn’t the only country to have jury trials, but few other nations allow them for as many trial types as we do. That’s thanks to the Seventh Amendment, which preserves the right to a trial by jury in civil cases. Technically the amendment only covers federal cases, but every state has something similar that covers the same grounds.

However, just because you can have a trial by jury doesn’t mean you have to. You have two other options you can choose, and both of them can be equally as binding.

Trial Before The Bench

For most civil cases, you can waive your right to a trial by jury and instead present your arguments to the judge. The judge can then make a final ruling and estimate the damages (if any). In Florida law, either party in a civil tort case can demand a trial by jury and get one, but if neither side asks then the trial goes straight to the judge.


Arbitration and the arbiters who staff the system aren’t part of the American legal system, for better and for worse. Arbitration can be cheaper and take less time than a full court case, but the problem is that arbiters tend to be hired from a pool of industry experts. That means they understand the issues at hand, but it also means they tend to favor businesses over individuals.

Insurance companies and workplaces have noticed this trend, too, and so many of them have started sneaking arbitration clauses into employment contracts and insurance policies. These clauses aren’t completely legal, though, especially if they’re buried in hard-to-read sections, since the Seventh Amendment gives you a right to trial by jury.

Both these alternatives sound simpler than a trial by jury, and they are, but you shouldn’t count out the jury trial because of that. If your case is particularly emotional you’ll have a better chance of swaying a jury than a judge or an arbiter. Juries also tend to be a lot more professional and intelligent than what some people expect, even trial lawyers, and so while they tend to offer larger awards than judges they also tend to be right most of the time.

If you’re seeking damages following a personal injury in southwest Florida, you should contact the law offices of , Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh. We have experience with arbitration and both types of trial, and we can help you if you aren’t yet sure which kind of case you should pursue. We can also help you reach a fourth option: negotiate with the other party involved and reach a settlement out of court so that both sides can avoid the long and expensive legal process. Sometimes it’s a long shot, but it’s always worth a try.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

3 Basic Personal Injury Case Options

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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