What happens after a personal injury claim goes to court? The answer is often very different based on the situation. But one thing is for sure – only 5% of all personal injury cases end up in court. If you are among the unlucky ones, The Clark Law Office compiled this article to help you know exactly what happens after a personal injury case goes through to trial.
How likely is your injury claim to go to court?
Personal injury claims that go to court are not as common as you may believe. The parties usually come to an agreement before your case needs to be heard by a judge and jury.
However, it is important to note that 400,000 personal injury cases are filed each year, and 20,000 of them find their way to court. But a trial is only necessary if the other party does not think they are responsible for paying what you feel your injuries should cost.
What happens during a personal injury case in court?
There are several things that happen during a personal injury trial. A few of the most important ones include:
- The opening statements, where each attorney tells their side of the story to the judge and jury members.
- The witnesses for both sides give testimony on what they have seen or heard about the injuries and events.
- The closing statements, where each side summarizes their case for the court members.
A few other things take place before these steps as well, but this is a good representation of what you can expect during a personal injury trial in court. During this time, the judge and jury members are listening to what is said by both sides and any witnesses that may be called.
After the trial has been completed, it will then go into a “deliberation period” where they decide if your personal injury claim was valid or not based on all the information presented before them. This can take a while, but it is crucial that they listen to all the evidence before deciding.
Evidence from a previous case or incident can be used against you
Even if the evidence provided by another case or incident is not directly related to your own personal injury claim, it can still be used against you. This can be a problem for repeat offenders, especially if they were found guilty in the previous case.
For example – let’s say a plaintiff has a claim resulting from a car accident, and the defense has evidence that this same plaintiff was involved in another minor fender bender. Even though there is no direct connection between these two accidents, the defense can still use it to undermine your personal injury case.
What can you do if the case is dismissed or lost at trial?
If your personal injury case is dismissed or lost at trial, that does not mean you cannot file another claim in the future. However, this depends on the type of legal situation that led to its dismissal or loss.
You may file a case until the “statute of limitations” has passed (usually within two years), and you must do it with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The chances of getting a different result are surprisingly slim, and this could mean your attorney may turn you down.
However, if your personal injury claim cannot be refiled because it has passed the statute of limitations, you can always file a claim against your own insurance company.
Why you should consider mediation before going to court
Going to court for personal injury cases is not always the best option. There can be a lot of pressure and stress when going through this type of legal situation, which is why mediation may often make sense for all involved in a personal injury claim.
Mediation allows both parties to meet with a third party who will try to help them come up with a settlement that works for each of their needs. This is often the case in a personal injury claim, and it can be very helpful when trying to resolve your legal situation outside of court, where there may be more pressure from both sides.
Overall, mediation is often beneficial for all parties involved, and it can help you come to a very reasonable outcome of your personal injury claim without having to go through the whole trial process.