After being hurt as a result of the negligent actions of another person, you’ll want to file a personal injury claim. However, you may be nervous about the prospect of going to court for your case.
The good news is that many personal injury cases are settled long before a trial date is ever necessary. In some circumstances, it may be unavoidable, especially if you have serious injuries or your case is something complex, like medical malpractice.
The best way to handle your expectations is to be prepared to settle or go to trial. By working with an injury lawyer, you’ll have someone with extensive experience and knowledge to stand up for your rights in negotiations or the courtroom.
What Happens When a Personal Injury Claim Goes to Court?
While you’re most likely to receive an agreeable settlement before a trial becomes necessary thanks to your lawyer, it helps to understand the process of what happens when a personal injury claim makes it to court.
The Investigation Starts the Process
Once you hire legal representation, your attorney will begin investigating by gathering evidence and researching relevant laws that apply to your case. The injury victim must prove that the other party acted negligently and is liable for the injuries and damages that resulted from the incident.
Negotiations Are Next
When it has been established that negligence is a factor, your attorney will start a settlement negotiation based on your economic and non-economic damages. The two parties will go back and forth until a reasonable amount is agreed upon. In some cases, no agreement can be reached and the process moves forward.
Filing the Lawsuit
If the negotiations aren’t fruitful, you will need to file a lawsuit. Your attorney will file the papers and have the at-fault parties served.
The Discovery Process
This step allows both sides to gather information and evidence through document requests, depositions, interrogation, and other items. It is intended to let each party learn more about the other’s case so they can prepare a strong legal defense for their client.
Pretrial Negotiations and Motions
After the discovery process, there will be another chance to negotiate and settle. Often, mediation and arbitration can be used as resolutions for disputes. If the case is still not working out favorably, your attorney will file a pretrial motion. A judge will then decide if the case has merit before a trial is set.
The Personal Injury Trial
If your case has made it all the way to this point, each side will present evidence and arguments to the jury. The jurors will consider everything that was presented to them to decide the outcome. They may rule in your favor and decide the damages you should be awarded. However, there is a chance they can rule in favor of the defendant, which means you would not receive anything.
Going to trial is risky but personal injury cases don’t usually reach that point. A personal injury attorney with trial experience is ideal in case your case goes all the way to court.