In many cases, personal injury claims are resolved before a lawsuit is filed. In situations where a fair settlement is unable to be reached outside of the courtroom, though, a personal injury attorney will move forward and file a lawsuit.
The entire process may take from just a few months to several years. The actual timeline depends on factors like the details of the case.
If your personal injury lawsuit goes to court, some of the phases that you will go through can be found here. If you have more questions, our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet is here to help. You can call us to ensure that you know what is going to happen during your personal injury claim.
Before the trial starts, there are a few phases that must be completed. These include:
Answer and Complaint Stage
Your complaint is the document that outlines the allegations regarding how you were injured and the severity of your damages. Usually, this will be filed in the county where the injury occurred or where the person who caused your damage lives.
After the Complaint has been filed, it will be delivered to the defendant in the case. It’s necessary for the defendant to answer the Complaint within a set amount of time. At this point, they will issue an Answer where they deny or admit to the allegations that were listed in the Complaint.
This is the formal process where you exchange information between the two parties regarding evidence and witnesses that will be presented at your trial. The primary purpose of this stage is to determine the main issues and ensure that the parties are aware of all the evidence that may be presented during the trial.
A motion is a proposal that is written to the court that requests an order, ruling, or direction. You will find that there are a few different motions. It’s also considered standard practice to file certain types of motions based on the case that is being handled. In some situations, hearings are held, so the court has the chance to listen to both sides of the argument.
Going Through Mediation
Sometimes, your personal injury case will go through mediation. This is a type of alternative dispute resolution that you can request at any time in the court process. If mediation is requested, then both parties (with their attorneys) will be present, along with a third-party mediator.
At this point, both sides present their case and then begin negotiations. The mediator serves as the facilitator, and both parties are given time to make a case. The mediations are non-binding, and both parties maintain the right to reject or accept the settlement offer that is requested or made.
Another alternative option is arbitration. The court may request a case to go to arbitration rather than court. That’s because the judge may think that reaching a reasonable settlement is possible. In other cases, going through arbitration is a decision that the parties involved come to voluntarily. This will reduce the cost of going to court for both sides.
During the arbitration, the hearing occurs between the two parties and is then judged by an arbitrator, who is a neutral party. The main difference between arbitration and mediation is that mediations are non-bonding. However, if an arbitrator decides about your case, then it is considered final.
During the trial, the plaintiff can argue their case and let a jury look at all the evidence. At this point, it is up to the jury to determine what happened and rule on if the defendant is considered responsible or liable for the victim’s injuries.
The trial in a personal injury lawsuit will usually be made up of six different phases. These include:
- The selection of the jury
- Both sides opening statements
- Testimony and cross-examination from and of the witnesses
- The closing arguments
- Instructions to the jury
- Deliberation and verdict from the jury
The Post-Trial Stage
Even if your personal injury case is successful, it doesn’t mean it’s over. You should deal with the potential that the case may be appealed to try and receive a different verdict. If the appeal is not filed, then there will likely be some time before you receive the compensation that was awarded in your case. Once you receive the money you are owed from the settlement, you can think of the lawsuit as being complete.
How Often Do Personal Injury Claims Go to Court?
If you are worried about taking your case to court, you may not need to be as worried as you think. Most personal injury cases will be settled long before they reach this stage. In fact, around 95% of all personal injury cases will be settled during the pretrial stage.
There are a few reasons that these claims are settled before reaching court. One reason is that insurance companies want to reduce the cost of your claim. Going to court and losing costs a lot more than settling before the case is seen by a judge and jury.
Let Our Legal Team Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, our legal team at Zimmet & Zimmet is ready to help you recover the compensation you deserve. While we will work hard to help you settle your case before going to trial, our attorneys are more than ready to handle litigating your claim in court.
The first step is to contact our legal team to schedule a free initial consultation. We can talk about the specifics of your case and help create a plan to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.