While you may know someone who has brought a personal injury claim after being injured in an accident, you may not know someone who has been a party to a personal injury trial. This is because personal injury trials are far less common than personal injury claims. While accidents resulting in injuries are, unfortunately, a regular occurrence every day across the country, very few claims end up getting to trial. Most of the time, personal injury claims are settled with an insurance company before a lawsuit is even filed. Some personal injury claims, however, do go all the way to trial. Because this is always a possibility, you should be familiar at least with the basics of what goes on at a personal injury trial.
What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?
If your personal injury claim has gone to trial, there is most likely a specific issue the insurance company is harping on in order to justify either denying your claim or offering subpar settlement amounts. There may be coverage issues. There may be questions as to liability in causing the accident. There may also be concerns over the nature and extent of the injuries and losses you claim to have sustained as a result of the accident. Whatever the central issues regarding the claim may be, they are likely to be the focus of the trial.
With coverage issues, the specific language of the insurance policy will likely be referenced frequently. Arguments made over the timeline of the accident may also be presented as may arguments in favor of interpreting the language of the policy in a certain way over another. Previous court cases may also be referenced in support of one sides case or the others.
As far as liability is concerned, both sides will be entitled to present their cases regarding what actually happened in the accident and who was at fault. Accident reports will be presented as will witness testimony. Any pictures of the scene as well as any video footage of the accident will also be likely presented. In some cases, an accident reconstruction expert may be called to testify as to what actually happened leading up to the accident.
Regarding issues relating to the damages you are claiming, such as the injuries you sustained in the accident, medical evidence will be the key. Your medical records will be scrutinized. Your treating physicians and other medical experts are also likely to testify. Both sides will likely retain experts that can make the most solid argument that supports what they are arguing.
At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will be tasked with rendering a verdict. If The judge or jury believes that the plaintiff has sustained damages and that the defendant is liable for those damages, a damage award will also be calculated. You should note also that personal injury verdicts are appealable by either side.
Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury claim can still be settled at any point up to the judge or jury returning a verdict. Do you have questions about the personal injury claims process? Talk to Attorney Michael LoGiudice. He has the answers you are looking for. Contact us today.