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 ultimate purpose of a personal injury trial is to settle the case in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant where the plaintiff’s goal is to obtain a judgment against the defendant and the defendant’s goal is to refute the plaintiff’s claims. 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 the defendant must pay.

*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.

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 always get a much smaller settlement and be left on your own with a complex process. For those who manage to handle the stages of an injury claim before trial, they should seriously consider hiring a personal injury lawyer if their case moves to trial.

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!