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Will I Have to Go to Court if I File a Personal Injury Claim?

After your accident, whether it was a car accident or some other personal injury case, your pain and suffering are only worsened by the fears of the financial ruin that your injuries can cause. If you have hired a car accident lawyer or another attorney to file a personal injury claim for injuries, you may want to know what happens next. By reading on, you can learn all about the process so that you know what to expect.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim?

As soon as an accident has taken place, you need to start working on your claim. This is where you need to start compiling evidence, taking names of witnesses, and getting checked out by a medical professional. After you get treated for your injuries, your next step will be filing a claim with the 3rd party insurance company (the insurance company of the responsible party). This claim should include all of the evidence that you have for your case.

You should also get in contact with an attorney. The personal injury lawyer will first go over your case and any evidence that you have to determine whether or not you even have a claim against the other driver or the property owner/manager of where an accident took place. They will also be your point of contact through the entire process, especially during the settlement stage.

Do Most Cases Go to Court?

For the most part, personal injury cases don’t tend to go to court. There are a variety of reasons why they don’t, including:

  • Going to court is very costly for both parties thanks to court costs and the attorney’s fees getting more expensive the longer the case goes on.
  • If the plaintiff is desperate for money, they may consider taking a lower but guaranteed settlement right away. This is especially a concern since you don’t definitely win your case if you go to court. Plus, even if you do win you won’t get your money until after the trial.
  • There’s always a chance that you won’t win in court. The plaintiff will have to pay back any fees in addition to their medical and other expenses after their accident. The defendant will also have to pay fees that may be more than what it would have cost them to settle the case beforehand.
  • The risk of the appeals cases is also enough to cause both sides to avoid court. Settlements cannot be appealed, but court verdicts can. Going in for appeals can be even more costly than just settling to begin with.

What does all of this mean? It’s usually in the best interest for both parties to settle the case before it goes to trial. Between you and your lawyer, you will have to weigh your options to decide whether or not going to court is the best option for you. Your lawyer will be upfront with you when they show you the offered settlements and tell you whether or not this is a fair settlement. If it is a fair settlement and you agree to the terms, you won’t ever have to go to court.

What if I Do Have to Go to Court?

This doesn’t mean you can always settle out of court. In some cases, a trial is a necessary step. If you do have to go to court, your lawyer will help you through the entire process. They will let you know what to expect during the process and offer any advice that you need from them. Your personal injury attorney is there to help you.

The Process of a Personal Injury Case

There are different phases of the personal injury trial that you should be familiar with to better understand the process.

Pretrial

Before there is a trial, there are steps that you need to go through first. The first part is the complaint and answer phase, which is where you discuss the details of the allegations and injuries as well as the extend of these damages. This is generally filed either where the injury took place or where the defendant resides. This complaint is then delivered to the defendant, where they are required to respond within a specific amount of time. The answer is whether or not the defendant admits any guilt or wrongdoing in the matter.

During the pretrial is also where the discovery phase would take place. This is the formal process where both parties discuss their evidence and any witnesses that will appear at the trial. The point of this part of the process is to lay out the case and any issues prior to trial.  After this phase, it moves into the motions phase where the court has to respond to various motions to guide the proceedings.

Mediation

Mediation is an important part of the process because this is an alternative to actually going to court for your case. Here, a mediator will be assigned to the case and sit in at every session. This is where the settlement negotiations take place, allowing input from both sides. It’s important to know that in mediations, these are non-binding meaning that either party can reject the offer or accept it if they choose to.

However, another option at this point is to go through arbitration rather than going to court. This is sometimes required by the courts to resolve the issue in lieu of going to court as they feel this gives a great solution for a fair settlement. This is resolved by an arbitrator, who is a neutral party, after a hearing. This can save costs compared to going to court, but this settlement is decided by the arbitrator and is typically legally binding. The arbitrators decision is final.

Trial

Going to trial offers you the opportunity to argue your case so that a jury can decide on the evidence and determine if the defendant is liable for damages and how much compensation you deserve. This is a long process that starts with jury selection, then moving through opening statements until the closing statements. Once the case is over, the jury will deliberate on the case and then present their verdict.

Post-Trial

After the trial, the cases isn’t necessarily completely over. In some cases there will be an appeals process should you or the defendant not be happy with the results of the trial. If the defendant doesn’t appeal the verdict, you will still have to wait until your judgement is received. The lawsuit isn’t completely over until you get the compensation the court has decided on.

Knowing if Your Case Will Go to Trial

As previously mentioned, many cases may not even go to trial. About 5% of claims do go to trial, which means you need to be prepared in case this is the situation for you. There are a few reasons that commonly cause a claim to go to trial, including:

  • Determining Who Caused the Accident

If neither party is willing to take blame for the accident, then they will need to go to court to determine who is at fault.

  • Unable to Agree on Compensation

Another major problem is when the parties have difficulty agreeing on a fair settlement. Sometimes the insurance adjuster refuses or is unable to negotiate a settlement. This could also be because someone is not being reasonable in the case. The plaintiff may not feel as though the settlement is a fair offer. In this case, going to court is the necessary course of action.

  • Plaintiff Feels as Though Court is the Best Choice

Sometimes the plaintiff just decides to sue the defendant because they believe that this is the only way to get the fairest settlement.

Going to trial isn’t always the best approach for many people. In most cases, this can be very expensive and may not be worth it for any party to deal with. Court fees are expensive and they only increase as long as the trial is going on. By talking to your personal injury lawyer, they will help advise you as to what the best course of action is going to be. They will typically tell you to try negotiations first to see what the insurance company is willing to offer. If it’s a fair settlement, this usually is the best approach for most personal injury victims.

Conclusion

Once you have thought “Where do I find a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer near me”, it’s time to look up the lawyers at The Injury Firm in Fort Lauderdale. Our team of professionals have many years of experience when it comes to working with a wide variety of personal injury claims. During this difficult and stressful time, you want to be sure that you have a team on your side that is fighting for your best interests. We understand how important your case is to you, so we work hard to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Call today for your FREE case evaluation: 954-951-0000.

The Injury Firm
2000 N.E. 45th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000
Email: info@flinjuryfirm.com

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Fort Lauderdale

2000 N.E. 45th Street
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

Phone (954) 951-0000
Fax: (954) 951-1000
Email: records@flinjuryfirm.com

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500 South Australian Ave.
Suite 600
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
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Toll-free: 833-332-1333
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Disclaimer

The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only.  This website may contain information about The Injury Firm's past results, testimonials about the firm or a lawyer within the firm, and statements regarding the quality of The Injury Firm's work product. This information has not been reviewed or approved by The Florida Bar. Please be advised that: 1) the facts and circumstances of your case may differ from the matters for which results and testimonials have been provided: 2) Not all results of cases handled by the firm or its lawyers are provided and not all clients have given testimonials; and 3) The results and testimonials provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the firm or by its lawyers or of the experience of all clients or others within the firm or its lawyers. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

  

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