Personal injury cases can be filed by an individual against someone who he or she believes has caused their injury. The plaintiff’s lawyer evaluates the case and determines whether it would be best to try and negotiate an out of court settlement with the errant party and their insurance company or file a personal injury case against the errant party. If the lawyers of both parties deem that the case can be mended through settlement, all problems and injuries will be compensated by the defendant. However, if settlement negotiation fails or is inappropriate, filing a personal injury case may be necessary.
Depending on the accounts of the plaintiff, the defendant is accused either of negligence, malpractice, inaction or recklessness resulting in physical, psychological, emotional or other forms of perceived harm. If you have been sued for a personal injury, you need to prove one thing in order to avoid being forced to pay compensation to the plaintiff: that you had no liability for the injury.
Once you receive a summons from the court, it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer to defend you. Your personal injury lawyer will determine the best course of action depending on the circumstances of the personal injury claim being brought against you. Most probably, a statement of defense may be filed by your personal injury lawyer on your behalf.
On the other hand, the plaintiff will need to establish two things. First, that you have legal responsibility for their personal injury. Second, that the damages claimed reflect the actual injury sustained. Establishing these two requisites would require court hearings and pleadings.
You will be required to participate in the process of exchanging information about the personal injury case. Each party is allowed to investigate all matters concerning the incident. Your personal injury lawyer will have to check on the medical and financial records of the complainant as well as the necessary police records, in order to determine how best to defend you. Witnesses and evidences are also to be presented during this pre-trial process.
Both the plaintiff and the defendant will be given a chance to prove their claims. You may need to undergo inquiries conducted by the plaintiff’s lawyer as well as your counsel to examine all the facts of the case. Your personal injury lawyer will prepare you for this process. Testimonies and facts presented during this process can influence the decision of the case, so your personal injury lawyer will advise you on what to say and what not to say during this part of the process The whole process of determining your legal liabilities may take months or years, depending on the complexity of the case being brought against you. Mediation may be ordered by the Court or voluntarily set up by the involved parties to prevent a painstaking and costly trial. In the mediation process, the involved parties will try to reach an agreement. Very often, mediation is a successful way of resolving personal injury cases.
If a mutually satisfying settlement is not met, a jury trial will ensue. The case is then brought to a jury of 12 or before a judge who decides what the case is worth. It is a complicated process that involves deliberations and arguments. After several months a verdict may be arrived at. However, this can be challenged, depending on you and your personal injury lawyer’s decision. Filing a motion at Higher Courts may take months or even years to get a resolution to the case.