How Are Personal Injury Cases Handled In Court?
Dealing with a personal injury case is never easy, especially if it has to go to court due to failed settlement negotiations. This legal process of filing a case in court is the personal injury lawsuit claim.
It’s a civil action that occurs when a person suffers from injuries from an accident, and someone else may be legally responsible for the harm. Its primary goal is to seek compensation for the injuries allegedly caused by the defendant.
However, before you can get compensated, it’s important to know the lowdown about personal injury cases, as well as the several steps and procedures involved. Unless you’re a lawyer, you need someone who can handle the job for you.
In case you want to educate yourself about the processes involved, here’s a general overview of how personal injury cases are handled in court.
- Filing Of Paperwork
Before your personal injury lawsuit begins, you need to file the required paperwork, which is commonly called the ‘complaint.’ Without this legal document, you have no lawsuit to talk about from the very beginning.
Because of such, it’s important to hire a good personal injury lawyer from law firms, like 1-800-Injured, who can help you draft a complaint for you. With them by your side, you can make sure that your complaint will sufficiently include the following:
- Identities of all the parties involved
- Legal basis of the court’s jurisdiction over the lawsuit
- Legal claims and the facts that will support your legal claims
- Prayers for relief explaining what you want the court to do for you
However, aside from the complaint, you, as the plaintiff, should make the defendant aware of the lawsuit filed against them. This legal document is called the ‘summons.’ The issuance of the summons, for instance, informs the defendant that they’re being sued and they’re given the right to defend themselves.
- Obtaining Evidence Through Discovery
Most personal injury lawsuits in court undergo the process of discovery. It’s a method wherein the opposing parties are given the chance to access all relevant information and obtain evidence from each other. But, it doesn’t mean that each party can get any pieces of evidence automatically from the other party.
Generally, you can make use of the following tools to request information in your personal injury case:
- Production Requests – You may ask the other party to produce copies of documents relevant to your case.
- Interrogatories – You may ask the other party some specific questions, and the responding party should respond to the questions in writing and under oath.
- Depositions – Your lawyer will ask the other party or a witness some questions about the case. Like the interrogatories, depositions are done in writing and under oath, and recorded word-for word by the court reporter.
- Request For Admission – You may ask the other party to admit or deny a material fact of your personal injury case.
- Going Through Mediation
In most cases, a personal injury case doesn’t automatically proceed to trial. Before the judge or jury will hear, try, and decide the case, they’ll refer it to a mediation proceeding wherein both parties are given the opportunity to reach an out-of-court settlement in the matter.
Under this stage, a third-party individual will lead the mediation between the parties to avoid trial. Some matters will be discussed in an attempt to come up with a settlement offer. To make this process successful, you need someone who’s experienced and trained in the area.
- Going To Trial
When the mediation fails for whatever reasons, the next step in how personal injury cases are handled in court is through trial. Under this stage, the presiding judge or jury will examine the facts and evidence presented, and decide whether the defendant should be held liable and the plaintiff should be awarded with compensation.
Ultimately, a trial in a personal injury case consists of different phases, such as selecting a jury, opening statements, cross-examination and witness testimony, closing arguments, jury deliberation, and verdict.
- Appealing The Case
Depending on the relevant issues of the case, the losing party may have the right to appeal. It’s a process wherein you ask the appellate court to review the judgment of the trial based on some errors.
However, unlike the trial phase, appealing a personal injury case comes with more complicated procedures. Thus, if you want to ensure a successful result of your appeal, contact a reliable lawyer to handle your case.
Indeed, personal injury cases can be complex and lengthy. Luckily, handling this type of civil action doesn’t need to be challenging if you keep the information mentioned above along with hiring a good personal injury lawyer. That way, you’ll know how they’re done in court and ensure a positive outcome in your favor.