What Happens If My Personal Injury Claim Goes To Court?
Accident victims have a legal right to pursue compensation and redress, especially if they’ve suffered damages due to another person’s negligence. The process of seeking redress can be long and convoluted, depending on the type of injury and the factors surrounding the accident. Injury victims may need to work with a qualified personal injury attorney Sarasota to fully understand their position and the steps to take.
Contacting an attorney is, however, one of the preliminary steps in the claims case. The remaining process involves investigating the accident to establish fault and determine the victim’s losses. The personal injury lawyer will also collect evidence backing the client’s case and draft a demand letter which will be forwarded to the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
Although many accident injury cases end in settlements, some may proceed to trial. Trial proceedings become necessary when the victim or their legal counsel feel they are being cheated during negotiation. A trial proceeding is often the last step, especially after settlement negotiations have broken down.
It’s understandable if you’re scared at the news of your personal injury case proceeding to trial. Usually, most accident victims just want to be compensated and move on. However, with trial proceedings, you’re likely to face a lengthy court process with a 50% chance of winning. So, what should you expect from the trial proceeding? Find out more information about what happens below.
Personal Injury Trial and The Various Claim Components
There are various steps involved when your personal injury claim goes to trial. In most cases, a jury will be constituted to oversee the case and declare a verdict at the end of the trial proceeding. The jury will be made of 12 or fewer individuals who the judge has selected. Usually, it may be possible to screen out potential jurors before the case starts. The judge will ask a couple of questions to understand the juror’s perspective better and screen them based on those views.
At the end of the jury selection, the personal injury case can then proceed to trial.
A trial proceeding in a personal injury case will always begin with an opening statement from the plaintiff and defendant. Most lawyers lean on their opening statement to prepare the court’s mind for what they’ll argue for in the case. Each side of the case will be allotted time to present its case and make its point.
In a typical personal injury trial proceeding, the personal injury attorney representing the victim will be allowed to go first. This is because they have the burden of proof. That is, they have the legal responsibility to prove that the other party was indeed responsible for their client’s accident and injury.
The Burden of Proof in a personal injury claim
As mentioned earlier, the prosecuting counsel has the burden of proof. The victim and their legal counsel are required, by law, to prove that the defendant had acted negligently, causing their accident and/or injuries.
To establish the burden of proof, the prosecuting counsel will be required to present strong evidence to back their case.
At the end of the opening statement from both parties, the case will proceed to evidence presentation. The victim’s injury lawyer will have the floor to prove that their client had been injured due to the defendant’s actions.
At this point, the prosecuting counsel is free to bring witnesses to testify for their case. The injury lawyer can also present evidence in the form of security camera footage, traffic cams, medical reports, police reports, etc.
It is best to have as much evidence as possible to back the case. The more relevant evidence the prosecutors can present, the better their chances of winning.
In some cases, an expert witness may be hired to testify for the injury victim. Expert witnesses are trained professionals or knowledgeable individuals in specific fields. Other cases may involve hiring accident reconstruction experts to properly understand the events leading to the accident.
At the end of the claimant’s attorney’s presentation, the defense counsel is given a chance to make their argument. This may involve presenting witnesses, documentation, and evidence to support their version of the events. At the end of their presentation, each side will be given a chance to cross-examine their witnesses.
Cross examinations are done to poke holes in the other party’s strategy. Both the prosecutors and defendants will get a chance to cross-examine each other’s witnesses in a bid to discredit or fault their testimony legally.
At the end of the cross-examination, both parties will be allowed to make a closing argument. The closing statement from each side aims to seal their point and sway the jury in their direction. Upon hearing the argument, the jury is given a chance to deliberate and vote on the verdict.
Once decided, in a separate room, the jury will present their decision to the judge, who will then read it out to both parties.
It is important to note that personal injury trials can be short-lived or drawn out. Some personal injury trial cases may be completed in hours, while others may last for days.
What are your chances?
Accident victims should understand that any accident claim can go to trial. This realization is perhaps one of the reasons they should choose an experienced and trial-ready attorney at the start of their case. Changing attorneys in the middle of the case can be destabilizing. However, it may not greatly impact the case’s outcome, provided the accident victim had chosen wisely.
By choosing a trial-ready attorney, accident victims pursuing personal injury claims put themselves at an advantage. They are prepared to go into a negotiation knowing they have the resources needed to push through, especially if negotiations break down.
While it is less time-consuming to settle for an amount, proceeding to trial comes with benefits. For example, an injury victim may be able to win much more money from the trial proceeding compared to during settlement.
It is best to speak to an experienced injury lawyer about these things. Contact the nearest injury lawyer or visit https://halelaw.com for more information.
2803 Fruitville Road Suite 240 Sarasota FL 34237,
Find us on Social Media