What Happens When Your Personal Injury Case Goes to Court?
There is a common misconception that if you hire a lawyer after suffering a personal injury you will need to go to court to recover compensation. Typically, cases are resolved without needing to go to court, as the victim’s attorney can reach a settlement with the liable insurance company.
That said, there are times when cases make it to court. These are typically cases that have significant value (where insurance companies are trying to deny or underpay the claim) or when there is a true fight over fault, such as cases involving drivers who ran a light.
The thought of going to court often creates a lot of anxiety for injury clients. That is why attorneys like to explain the process to injury clients, so they know what to expect. Telling people what they need to know helps give them some peace of mind.
Below, our Minneapolis personal injury attorneys discuss the steps involved in a personal injury court case. If you were injured by another’s negligence, TSR Injury Law is ready to help you seek compensation. While some law firms are always looking to settle, we are always prepared to take cases to court if it becomes necessary. Our goal is to secure full compensation, so you can move forward with your life.
Why Do Some Injury Cases End Up in Court?
The only reason cases make it to court is because both sides cannot reach a settlement agreement. The insurance company may be unwilling to increase its offer or may have chosen to deny liability on the claim.
There are various reasons why insurance companies may be unwilling to offer more compensation. Insurance companies may think:
- You do not have a strong case
- Your credibility is in question
- A jury is unlikely to award more compensation than the insurance company is offering
- They can win in court, even though the victim has a strong case
- The attorney you hired does not try cases in court and will fold
If negotiations break down, our attorneys may recommend filing a lawsuit. However, there are many factors that need to be considered before going ahead with a lawsuit. Our attorneys make sure to keep our clients informed throughout the process and explain what the next steps may be.
What are the Steps Involved in a Court Case?
The first step in a lawsuit is filing a complaint. Once the complaint is filed, the other party has a chance to respond.
After the defendant responds to the complaint, the case enters the discovery phase. This may be the longest stage of any court case. Both parties collect evidence to help support their case, and they may share information they have collected. This allows both sides to get a better idea about the strengths and weaknesses of their case and the case the other side is putting together.
Some of the steps that may be taken during discovery include:
- Asking for written answers to interrogatories (a list of questions)
- Taking depositions of witnesses
- Requesting that the other party produce documents
- Undergoing medical exams with doctors who were hired by the insurance company
A jury trial is the last resort for resolving a legal claim. That is why there are multiple settlement steps before a trial ever takes place. This includes mediation, which occurs when both parties in the case meet with a mediator. The mediator tries to help both sides come to an agreement on a settlement that would close the case.
Sometimes mediation is successful. The insurance company may get cold feet and not want to risk going to a trial. The longer a case goes on, the more expensive it becomes, and a jury may award much more compensation than the insurance company would need to pay in a settlement.
Our attorneys are experienced negotiators who are committed to securing fair compensation for your damages. We have worked with mediators before and been able to secure favorable settlements for our clients.
If both sides cannot reach an agreement through mediation, the case will move to a trial. There are several steps in a trial:
- Jury selection
- Opening statements from both sides
- Presentation of evidence and calling of witnesses
- Closing statements
- Jury deliberations
It is important to note there is nothing preventing either side from proposing a settlement at any point of the trial. If both sides can reach an agreement, the trial stops and the case is resolved.
The insurance company may be more likely to reach out and offer compensation if they think the evidence is overwhelmingly against them.
Our attorneys are here to answer your questions about a trial and explain what to expect from each step in the process.
After the jury deliberates, they will announce their decision. If your case was successful, the jury will decide to award compensation for damages. It is important to note the jury’s verdict must be unanimous.
When a case makes it to court, the resolution may not come for multiple years from the date of the accident. While there is a possibility the jury will award more compensation than you might get in a settlement, there is also a possibility the jury will award less or none at all.
However, our attorneys are not going to recommend going to court unless we think there is a good chance of success.
Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Claim
We understand this is a difficult time for you and your family and we are here to help. An initial consultation is free of charge and comes with no obligation to hire our firm.
We are prepared to guide you through the legal process. That means we can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, investigate the accident, gather evidence and prepare to go to court.
Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call us at: (612) TSR-TIME.