- Going to trial for a personal injury lawsuit is considered the last resort and it typically only happens if both sides cannot reach a compromise for a settlement.
- Personal injury lawsuits aim to compensate victims for damages like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress.
- Before a trial for a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs and defendants can attempt to settle the claim through mediation.
- Personal injury lawsuits cover a wide range of situations involving negligent behavior, from car accidents to medical malpractice and defective products.
- The trial process involves jury selection, evidence presentation, witness testimonies, and ultimately, a verdict.
Following a personal injury accident, you will have significant damages that you need compensation for, such as medical bills, property damage, and mental anguish. You and your personal injury lawyer can file a personal injury claim to negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, you can go to trial for a personal injury lawsuit.
This allows a jury the chance to decide whether you deserve compensation for your damages. A personal injury lawsuit can be a potentially lengthy process, with multiple pre-trial phases and an in-court trial necessary.
At WHG, our personal injury lawyers can help with the process of a personal injury lawsuit by handling discovery, mediation, your legal strategy, the court case, and the post-trial process. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (800) 320-HELP or leave a message on our online contact page.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit to Go to Trial
Victims of personal injury accidents can suffer significant damages that they cannot pay for out-of-pocket. Therefore, they could try to hold the at-fault party responsible by filing a personal injury claim, which can involve settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
However, this does not always end up with the victim recovering compensation for their damages. Insurance companies will attempt to deny, delay, or devalue their claim to keep the insurer’s profits up. In this case, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to bring the case to court.
Then, a jury will decide whether the victim deserves compensation for the at-fault party’s negligent behavior that caused the personal injury accident. The following are types of personal injury accidents that you could file a personal injury lawsuit about:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Lyft and Uber accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Defective drugs
- Defective medical devices
- Product liability
- Nursing home abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Wrongful death
Hiring an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
At the beginning of the process, before negotiating a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, you should hire a personal injury lawyer. The process of a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated, especially for someone with personal injury lawsuit experience.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can handle the steps of the process effectively, keep the trial process moving by adhering to deadlines set by the court, and make the best case to the jury for you to receive compensation for your damages.
The Complaint and Answer Phase of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Once the personal injury lawsuit is filed, the judge who will preside over the case will establish deadlines for the pre-trial phase. This part of the process includes three phases and can take several months to complete, depending on how complex the case is.
The first phase of the pre-trial process is the complaint and answer phase. The complaint is a written summation of your allegations to the defendant, including the negligent behavior you believe caused the personal injury accident.
For example, you may state the defendant was distracted while driving, leading them to hit your car. The defendant has to agree with what is written or deny the allegations by a deadline after they receive the document. Typically, they have 30 days to respond.
What Happens During the Pre-Trial Discovery Phase?
The next stage of the pre-trial phase is discovery, which is the most significant before the trial. This is a long process of both sides gathering information to craft their legal strategy before going to court.
There will be a necessary collaboration between both parties, where they will have to provide the information requested by one another. Parties may request information pertaining to how the accident occurred, what medical treatment was administered, and evidence of damages.
Requests for information can come in the form of the following ways:
- Interrogatories: This is a written request for information that necessitates a written response. Requests for documents can fall under interrogatories.
- Requests for Admission: This is when one party requests that the other party admit to a fact in the case being false. This provides a record of false information, so they do not have to prove it’s false during the trial.
- Depositions: These are in-person question-and-answer sessions involving the plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses. This is a factual discovery process where both sides will seek answers to questions not provided by evidence. Each party’s lawyer and someone who can administer an oath will be present at a deposition meeting.
- Medical examination: The defendant can request the plaintiff submit to a medical examination to confirm the injuries and physical damages they are seeking compensation for.
The Defendant Can File a Motion After Discovery
Following the discovery process, some information may come to light that may make the defendant want one of your accusations dismissed. For example, they may refute that they were speeding at the time of the crash. The defendant may file a motion with the court to dismiss a claim or the entire case.
Your personal injury attorney will normally have about 28 days to respond to the motion for dismissal and offer a rebuttal. In some cases, the court may hold a hearing to hear oral arguments from both sides before deciding.
Settlement Negotiations Can Occur Before the Trial in Mediation
After the pre-trial phase is complete and all evidence has been collected, both sides of a personal injury lawsuit can request a chance to negotiate a settlement. This is called mediation and can happen anytime during the trial process.
A neutral mediator can oversee settlement negotiations between the plaintiff, defendant, and their lawyers. For instance, say you filed a car accident claim against another driver, but you don’t want to take on the time commitment of a trial process for the personal injury lawsuit. You may decide to try mediation to resolve the case more quickly.
Both sides can present their case for a settlement and decide whether to settle out-of-court. Mediation is a non-binding process, which means both sides do not have to come to a settlement. Each side can reject any offer suggested and go to court with a personal injury lawsuit.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Court Trial?
If your personal injury lawsuit goes to trial, it can be a months-long process. It consists of both sides presenting evidence, lawyers offering statements, and testimonies from the plaintiff, defendant, and witnesses.
Your personal injury lawyer can present your argument for deserving compensation by showcasing evidence proving the at-fault party breached a duty of care and caused the accident and your severe injuries.
The following are the six phases of a personal injury court case:
- Jury selection
- Opening statements
- Witness testimony and cross-examination
- Closing statements
- Jury instruction
The court’s decision is based on jury deliberation over the facts of the case. At this point, you could either receive compensation for your damages or be denied based on insufficient arguments. After the trial, the party who came out on the wrong side of the verdict can file an appeal with a higher court to reconsider the ruling.
Contact Werner, Hoffman & Greig for Help With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
The personal injury lawyers at Werner, Hoffman & Greig have experience in litigating personal injury lawsuits that can help with the trial process. They will do everything in their power to net you a settlement that can pay for the full cost of your damages before the trial and help you should a trial be necessary.
They can offer personalized legal counsel catered to your needs to put you in the best position to recover compensation for your personal injury damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Werner, Hoffman & Greig, we offer free consultations to personal injury victims to show how our personal injury attorneys can help you through the personal injury trial process. Contact us at (800) 320-4357 or leave a message on our online contact page.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit?
In Florida, most personal injury lawsuits, including medical malpractice cases and wrongful death claims, must be filed within two years of when the injury or death occurred. Specific types of claims, like sexual abuse cases where the survivor was a minor, may offer plaintiffs more time to come forward.
Do most personal injury lawsuits go through the trial process?
No. Contrary to what many shows and movies would have you believe, more than 90% of the time parties settle a personal injury lawsuit before it ever gets to trial.
Can I represent myself at trial?
Under most circumstances, you have the right to represent yourself in civil court. This is known as Pro Se, which means on your own behalf. Forgoing an experienced lawyer is risky and highly unadvisable. If you are representing your own case in court because no personal injury lawyer would take it on, that is typically an indication that your claim lacks merit or sufficient evidence to succeed.