Not all personal injury claims will go to court. When you suffer damages due to the negligence of another party, you have a right to sue them for compensation. Although you can sue the liable party personally, a personal injury lawyer can help you through the whole legal process.
Filing a claim does not always mean you will stand in a courtroom for cross-examination. Instead, your case may end at different stages, including the settlement negotiation, mediation, or court judgment stages.
What Is the Negotiation Stage in a Personal Injury Claim?
Suppose you have suffered injuries from a car accident due to another driver’s negligence. In pursuit of your deserved compensation, the legal process entails serving the liable party’s insurance company with a demand letter. The insurance company will rush to negotiate a settlement to avoid financial losses and a bad reputation. If you agree to the settlement terms, the case ends there—you receive compensation, and everyone moves on.
What Happens When You Cannot Agree on the Settlement Terms with the Insurance Company or Liable Party?
Unfortunately, some liable parties may deny responsibility for your damages. Their insurance company may also fail to acknowledge your compensation terms or offer an unfair settlement amount. Your lawyer will help you file a lawsuit against the liable party in court in such a scenario.
What Happens After I File a Personal Injury Case?
Your personal injury attorney will file a legal complaint in court and serve the liable party with a Notice of Action. The court will demand supporting documents to review your case before giving you a trial date. These documents include:
- Medical reports
- Receipts for property repair and replacement bills
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Record of financial losses caused by the accident
- Police accident reports
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Does Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Mean the Case Goes Straight to Trial?
Not really—when you serve the liable party with court documents, the court gives them a time limit to answer. There is also a considerable amount of time before the court reviews your case and gives you a trial date.
- The insurance company or the liable party may still have a chance to negotiate the settlement terms.
- This stage involves your attorney and the other party’s defense team.
- The next step after filing a lawsuit is called the discovery phase, where both sides exchange vital information through written interviews or in-person questioning (depositions).
What Is an Interrogatory?
An interrogatory is a written questionnaire presented by one party during the discovery phase and must be answered by the other party. For instance, the insurance company’s defense might ask you some written questions to prove that you sustained injuries and financial losses from their client’s negligence.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition hearing is an oral question and answer session where witnesses give testimony under oath but outside the courtroom.
- The insurance company’s attorney will ask you questions about the accident
- A personal injury lawyer can help you prepare adequately and teach you how to answer such questions.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is when the two sides sit down to negotiate new settlement terms in the presence of an impartial third party, known as a mediator.
- The mediator listens to both sides and offers suggestions to resolve the case.
- If both sides agree to the settlement terms, the case does not go to trial.
What Is the Difference Between Going to Trial or an Out-of-Court Personal Injury Settlement?
- The out-of-court settlement is cheaper, quicker, and less stressful.
- You will not incur significant case expenses, especially if your attorney charges legal fees on a contingency basis.
- You can also recover in peace as your attorney deals with the insurance company on your behalf.
- Court trials are helpful when dealing with insurance providers who will not agree to terms.
- The court gives you a better avenue to recover your damages.
- Attending court hearings while recuperating can be stressful for the victim
- Liability and compensation are unpredictable because it depends on the judge’s verdict.
- The case may take years, especially if there are appeals and counterclaims
What Happens at the Hearing for My Case?
The events that take place in a personal injury hearing include the following:
- Lawyers from both sides and the judge select a 12-person jury to hear the case
- Attorneys from both sides make their opening statements
- Witnesses present their statements and answer questions from the attorney
- Attorneys from each side present their closing arguments
- The judge instructs the jury on what to consider to reach a decision
- Discussions among the jury and consultation with the judge
- The jury delivers their verdict
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm Today to Get Help with Your Case
At Dolman Law Group, we walk with you from the day you file your claim until the case is settled or you receive a verdict if your personal injury claim goes to court. Contact our law office for a free case evaluation today.