The Current Anatomy of a Personal Injury Trial
In today’s world of personal injury law, individuals are quick to surpass their opportunity to hold another party accountable for negligence-related acts. This is most often because they don’t know what to expect, thus fear and uncertainty take control of decision making.
A personal injury lawsuit can be a daunting thing if not completely and accurately understood. However, with knowledge of the process, those injured can make important decisions regarding how to proceed after suffering injuries because of someone else’s actions.
The Timeline and What to Expect
- Filing a claim: When you sustain an injury, you file a claim based on the cause of the damages. For instance, in a car accident caused by negligence, you file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.
- The insurance company’s decision: Once a claim has been filed, the insurance company has the option to accept all liability and pay out compensation, outright deny liability, or attempt to pay less than adequate compensation.
- Filing a lawsuit: If the insurance company tries to deny a claim, you may have the right to file a lawsuit against them in an effort to secure compensation.
- Motion to dismiss: Once the notice of a lawsuit has been filed and reported to the insurance company, they can attempt to file a motion to dismiss the case with the judge. If their motion is granted, you may try to appeal the decision. If the judge denies the motion, the process will proceed as normal.
- Discovery phase: In a personal injury trial, the discovery phase serves as an opportunity for both parties to introduce evidence they may have regarding the incident that caused the injury. This can include all documentation, medical records, police reports, and key witnesses who can attest to liability or severity of the injuries sustained.
- Settlement offer: If the insurance company feels as though you have a strong enough case to prove negligence and liability should the matter go to trial, they may offer a settlement. If adequate, you may decide to accept the settlement in lieu of the lawsuit. If the settlement is not enough to cover expenses, you may counter or deny the offer, in which case, trial may be necessary.
- Trial: Not many cases make it to trial anymore due to the expenses and public spotlight associated with such events, but if it does, there is a platform for victims to have their voices heard. A decision is made by a jury—a group of unbiased peers who decide guilt and if the plaintiff should be awarded damages.
You shouldn’t fear the legal system and you don’t have to go through it alone. Our attorneys at Kershaw, Cook & Talley have the legal acumen you can count on when facing difficult matters resulting from someone else’s negligence.