What is the Purpose of a Personal Injury Trial?
When a person is seriously injured through no fault of their own, they do not suddenly become experts in personal injury cases. Their personal injury lawyer handles the phases of a personal injury claim from filing initial court papers to mediation and trial if necessary. While 95 percent of U.S. personal injury cases are settled in the pre-trial phase, for those with a case that will move to trial it is good to understand how a personal injury trial works.
What is the purpose of a personal injury trial?
The purpose of a personal injury trial is to reach a verdict in favor of the plaintiff or defendant. Trials result in verdicts and jury damage awards which are turned into “judgements” that the wrongdoer or their insurance company must pay the plaintiff. To reach a verdict, the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney presents evidence and the defendant’s attorney presents their rebuttal.* After careful examination of the evidence, the judge or jury considers whether to find the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s claims; and if so, the amount of damages that the defendant or their insurance company must pay.
*Although it is not advisable, note that in some cases plaintiffs and defendants represent themselves.
What are the six phases of a complete personal injury trial?
Personal injury laws vary from state to state but the main phases of a trial are more or less the same across the board. Personal injury attorneys typically make every effort to settle personal injury claims without going to trial. A case is started with an investigation of the facts, followed by presenting a settlement demand to the defendant. A settlement demand gives the accused a chance to settle the case by fair payment without having to go to a trial. If this process does not settle a case, the parties can try to settle through mediation. If mediation fails, the next step would be to file a lawsuit with the court and have the court set a trial date. If the case goes to trial then the following six phases take place.
Step #1: Choose a jury
Step #2: Opening statements
Step #3: Witness testimony and cross-examination
Step #4: Closing arguments
Step #5: Jury instruction provided by judge
Step #6: Jury deliberation and verdict
Do I need a personal injury lawyer to represent me in my personal injury trial?
While it is possible to settle a personal injury claim without an attorney, know that you will almost assuredly get a much smaller settlement and be left on your own with a complex process. Any person dealing with a serious personal injury because of another’s negligence should seriously consider hiring a personal injury lawyer.
Most personal injury attorneys provide free case evaluations so plaintiff’s have nothing to lose in reaching out to a personal injury attorney and so much to gain.
- Clients gain peace of mind knowing that the attorney understands the legal process and the value of your case. The firm handles interviews, gathers documents, negotiates and submits court documents before trial and the trial process if necessary. Essentially, they handle all the necessary steps for a successful injury claim.
- People who hire personal injury attorneys typically get settlements several times bigger than those who settled directly with the insurance adjuster.
- Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means that the firm advances out-of-pocket costs for their injury clients. When cases are concluded with a monetary recovery, the firm is repaid with a percentage of the recovery.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury through no fault of your own, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!