Most personal injury cases end up settling before there is any need for a lawsuit to even be filed. In fact, a claim can settle even after a lawsuit has been filed and all the way up until the end of the case. An insurance company may be even more incentivized to settle before a complaint is filed if it thinks that the lawsuit will end up being successful. This would mean that the insurance company would likely be on the hook for paying attorney’s fees and court costs along with the damages awarded. Other times, a lawsuit is avoided because the insurance company for the defendant, the at-fault party, is fair and around the same amount that would be awarded at trial.
Not all personal injury cases, however, end up settling. Sometimes, an insurance company needs to be brought to court to be held fully accountable for the damages owed to an injured party. An insurance company may make a low settlement offer or no settlement offer because it believes it could win its case if brought to trial. The insurance company may try to make a lowball offer or no offer to settle for fear of setting a precedent for others to bring similar personal injury claims. It can also be common for an insurance company to refuse to settle if they think that the settlement amount demanded by an injury victim is much too high. If a settlement cannot be reached, going to trial may be the next step. Here, we will talk about what you can expect at a personal injury trial.
What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial
Much happens even before a personal injury trial begins. In addition to settlement negotiations that may continue even after a lawsuit is filed, extensive discovery happens. In the discovery process, both sides share information about the claim with the other side. This means medical records, details about the accident, medical expenses, other costs incurred as a result of the accident, and any other relevant information is disclosed at this time. The information is gathered and shared through a variety of means including document production and depositions.
After discovery, the parties may go through mediation and negotiation in an effort to settle the claim prior to a full-blown trial. At mediation, a neutral third party, the mediator, will act as an in-between to see if a mutually acceptable settlement can be reached between the two parties. If mediation fails to succeed, the claim is likely to proceed to trial.
A personal injury trial usually lasts at least several days. There are a few things that need to be determined at trial. First, it must be determined that the defendant was actually at fault for causing the accident that led to the plaintiff’s injuries and other losses. This will be established through presenting relevant evidence that may include witness testimony, expert witness testimony, medical records, and accident reports.
The amount the defendant should be required to pay out in damages must also be determined at trial. This will involve a thorough examination of the nature and extent of the injuries caused by the accident. The judge or jury assigned to the case will need to render a verdict determining whether the defendant should be held liable for the damages sustained and, if so, what total damage award should be paid.
Personal Injury Attorney
At Compass Law Group, we are ready to go to trial for you. We are ready to fight for you, especially when the insurance company pushes back with low settlement offers. Talk to us about how we can help you get full and fair compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.