What Steps Should I Expect During a Personal Injury Trial?

If you are the victim of a personal injury and would like to seek compensation for your damages, learn about the steps involved. Knowing what you can expect at each step will let you move forward without fear or hesitation. You will then be armed with the knowledge to select a path that makes sense for your situation, giving you the best possible odds of victory.

Personal Injury Courthouse

Meeting an Attorney

Before you do anything else, meet with an attorney to go over your facts and to learn the strength of your case. Your lawyer will need to know as much as possible about your accident and the events surrounding it. If you have police reports, medical statements or other relevant documents, bringing them to your meeting will make the process much easier.

Starting the Process

If you and your lawyer agree to move forward with the personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer will file the required paperwork with the court so that you won’t need to do it. The initial paperwork will include an outline of your case and why you believe you are entitled to compensation. To keep your lawsuit on track, your lawyer will file a summons to get the defendant to appear at court to answer to the allegations.

The Discovery Process

As your case progresses through the legal system, you will enter the discovery process with your lawyer. At this stage, you and the defendant will share all of the evidence related to the lawsuit. The court can require you to send copies of your medical paperwork and other useful evidence. Your lawyer can get access to internal reports, security footage and anything else that is relevant to your case.

Settlement Negotiations

When you complete the discovery process, your lawyer will negotiate possible out-of-court settlements with the defendant. The evidence both sides obtained during discovery will give them an idea of what will likely happen if the case goes to trial.

The Trial

If you don’t agree to a settlement, your lawyer will take your fight to court, arguing your case in front of a judge or jury. After your lawyer presents your case, the other side will have the chance to produce evidence and counter your arguments. When your lawyer and the defendant rest their cases, the judge or jury will review the facts and reach a decision.

Final Thoughts

Filing a personal injury lawsuit can be a long, difficult process, and not many people know what to do. After you meet with a lawyer and begin the paperwork process, the discovery phase allows both sides to see what’s on the table. It’s not uncommon for the involved parties to reach a settlement, but that won’t always happen. If you are not pleased with the settlement offered by the defendant, it’s your right to take your case to trial. Once the trial comes to an end, the jury will take some time to decide whether or not you have proven your case.