Many things happen after getting hurt due to someone else’s negligence. A top concern for those injured when seeking help from a personal injury lawyer is whether or not they will have to endure going to court in order to try and get compensation. When you first file a personal injury claim, you will be working with a lawyer who will try and negotiate a settlement on your behalf with the other side. However, sometimes these negotiations do not get finished successfully. If this is the case, then you will be advised that the next step may have to be going to court. What does that mean exactly?
Why Court Proceedings Are Necessary
In the cases where settlements with the opposing side are not reached, the next step is always to proceed to court. This gives the presiding judge the ability to either asses a compensation for you to cover your injuries or asses who is at fault for the accident. This is referred to as the liability judgement.
Will I Have To Go To Court?
Even if your case needs to be sent to court, you will still have time up until the actual court hearing to reach an agreement with the other party involved. However, if a settlement does not get reached before the court date, then you will have to prepare yourself for court proceedings. For court, you are going to need to show proof of your injuries and provide evidence surrounding the circumstances of the accident. Your lawyer from a personal injury law firm can help you prepare for court if you are required to go.
This part of a personal injury case is where both parties investigate the claims being made by the other parties. They will find out their legal claims and defenses for the case. Each side will also send questions and document requests to the other. This process can last anywhere from a few months to over a year depending on the complexity of the case and what the court deadlines are.
Negotiation And Mediation
The next step will be where the negotiation begins. In many cases, the lawyers from each side will work together to come up with a negotiation. If both sides agree to the compensation, the case will be done. However, if the lawyers cannot settle it alone, then both parties will go to mediation. This is the process in which both lawyers and their clients will go in front of a mediator in hopes of settling the case.
What Happens In Court For Personal Injury Claims?
In many instances, personal injury cases are settled before they have to go to court. However, if it doesn’t get settled in mediation or before the court day, the trial will have to begin. A trial for a personal injury case can last anywhere from a couple days to weeks. In some states, these cases take longer because each day the trials are only held for a half day instead of a full day. This automatically doubles a trial length. It is done to give judges and lawyers time to do other things they need to do for preparation in the afternoon.
One of the most important things to realize about going to court for a personal injury case is that just because a court date is set for the trial does not necessarily mean that the trial will be held that day. Court dates get rescheduled often because of the schedule of the judge. Do not automatically assume that just because your court date gets postponed that something bad is going on. Many clients get anxious when court dates get rescheduled because they think it means that the lawyers for the other side are conspiring against you or something is happening that could result in a bad outcome for your case. Trials get delayed all of the time and for very innocuous reasons, too.
The idea of having to go to court for a personal injury case doesn’t have to scare you in any way. With the help of personal injury attorneys, you can be confident that the outcome of your case will be a good one even if negotiations aren’t settled during initial talks or through mediation.
Will I have to go to court?
Whether or not you will have to go to court depends on whether or not your case settles out-of-court. Most cases settle out-of-court, but many of them proceed to trial. Initially, attorneys do not know what cases will proceed to trial or not because it is too early to know. As time passes, your attorney will have a better idea of whether or not you will need to go court.
Cases Do Not Always Go to Trial
Your attorney’s main priority is to build a strong case from the very beginning. Before deciding to proceed to trial, your attorney will take the time to carefully review the facts of your case and take time to gather documentation and evidence. Although there is no way to know if a case is going to go to court, it always remains a possibility.
How Long it Takes to Settle a Case and The Statute of Limitations
Another reason why cases often go to trial is because the statute of limitations is fast approaching. The statute of limitations is an expiration date. Most cases must be filed by the statute of limitations. If a case is not filed by that date, then the defense can raise the statute of limitations as a defense to have a case dismissed.
Although many cases are settled out-of-court quickly and never go to court, other cases take longer to resolve. The statute of limitations may factor into an attorney’s decision to commence a lawsuit. However, it is usually not the only reason why a lawsuit is commenced. Attorneys are often forced to commence a lawsuit when there are complex legal issues that need to be resolved or a settlement offer does not meet expectations.
Complex Legal Issues May Require Judicial Intervention
In the beginning, attorneys cannot usually predict what case will go to court and which one will not. Cases that raise complex issues and cannot be resolved without the assistance of a judge or jury are often the types of cases that proceed to trial. When legal issues surface, plaintiffs are often forced to go to court because judicial intervention is required.
Although judicial intervention may be required, in some cases complex legal issues can be resolved and settled out-of-court without judicial intervention. Whether there is an issue about who is at fault or damages, sometimes these issues can be resolved after depositions are held. Your attorney will take the time to go over all of this with you.
No or Low Settlement Offers
After working on your case, your attorney will try hard to settle your case out-of-court. Attorneys and insurance companies go back and forth to try to resolve cases before going to court. Attorneys often decide to commence a lawsuit when there is no offer of settlement. In addition, cases also proceed to court if the offer is too low and does not meet a client’s expectations.
Clients Are Not Always Required to Come to Court
Even if your attorney is forced to file a lawsuit, you may not be required to appear in court. Settlement can occur at anytime even once a lawsuit has been filed. As such, it is hard to know whether or not a client will ever need to make an appearance in court. Although your attorney will work hard to settle your case, settlement talks can fail.
You May Need to Appear in Court
Every case is a little different from the next. You may be required to make an appearance in court with your attorney. However, there will be other instances when your attorney can appear on your behalf and you will not need to be in court. If your case goes to trial, you may need to appear in court to give testimony. However, sometimes clients are too ill or injured to do so. Your attorney will go over your case and let you know if you’ll be needed in court or not.
Whether or not you will have to go to court, depends on whether your attorney will need to file a lawsuit. Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will take the time to carefully evaluate your case and discuss the possibility with you. Although it is impossible to know whether a case will ultimately go to court or not, as time passes your attorney will definitely have more information to share with you.
Will I have to go to court when I file a personal injury lawsuit?
Many people are afraid to file a personal injury case because they fear going to court. Going before a judge, and being grilled by the defense team, can cause great anxiety about filing a case. Thankfully, not every personal injury case ends up in front of a judge. There are many instances where the case can be settled without going through the hassle of a legal battle. To understand the nature of these claims, you must understand the timeline.
The Demand Letter
When you meet with a personal injury attorney, they will give you an idea of what to expect from your case. With years of experience, they know the insurance companies that are easier to work with and the ones that hold out for a long battle. Additionally, the type of injuries that you suffer from has a big influence in these situations. Once you retain an attorney, they will ensure that your medical treatment is completed or you are mended as much as can be expected. The next step is to put together a demand letter. The demand letter will outline the injuries you have suffered, the negligence of the other party, and the amount of compensation that is requested. This letter opens the door and allows the insurance company to communicate with the attorney.
The Insurance Company Weighs Their Stance
Once the insurance company receives the demand letter, they will evaluate their stance in the matter. If there are any loopholes they will try to push the blame back onto you to avoid paying for the injuries. They may try to call you and get a recorded statement that can and will be used against you. Never say things to the company like “I feel fine.” They can turn that around later and say that you were feeling just fine and had no issues and they have it on tape. Always do all dealings through your attorney of record to ensure you are protected. If the case has a large compensation request, then they may be willing to negotiate if they feel they have no defense. Do not underestimate the insurance company and the games they will play to keep from paying anything.
The Art of Negotiations
In most cases, the insurance company will counter your offer with another one. If they feel there is a good chance you will win in court, they will attempt to save themselves the costs of a legal battle. Court costs are quite expensive, especially when you bring in expert witnesses and several legal representatives. They may cut their losses and try to just close the case. There may be a period of back and forth between both parties, and these negotiations can go on for some time. If there is no way to come to an agreement, then a motion will be filed in court. The motion will name you as the plaintiff against the other party and their insurance company.
What Happens After A Case Is Filled In Court?
After a case has been filed in court, many things can happen. First, the other party will ask for discovery. Depositions are commonplace in cases that are requesting high dollar compensation packages. Thankfully, just because you file a case in court does not mean that you will have to go to court. At any point during the trial, the insurance company can continue the negotiations. They may offer another amount before the trial. Commonly, if the insurance company feels that they are losing during the trial, they may come back with an offer before the judge decides in your favor. The question then becomes whether you should take their settlement offer.
Experienced Legal Counsel Is Imperative
It is important to have an attorney knowledgeable personal injury attorney representing you throughout this process. These claims require a great deal of legal knowledge that is not common knowledge to all attorneys. A lawyer that deals with these types of cases has an advantage in the courtroom. They have contacts at the major insurance companies and know the tricks of the trade. Having suitable counsel can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful case.