A personal injury attorney is your best chance at getting a case to trial or at least getting you the very best settlement after you have been injured. When you face an injury, it is important to have a conversation with an attorney as to the most effective way to proceed and what steps come before the case can ever go to a trial. While movies have done a great job at highlighting the drama, the reality of a court case is much less exciting and so it is important to have a realistic idea of what to expect as you go through the process of holding the other party responsible for your injuries.
Many cases never make it to the trial where they can be argued before a judge or a jury. An injury attorney may prefer to settle the case rather than take them to court and place the fate of the case in the hands of a judge or twelve people. Many states require a jury verdict in a personal injury case to be unanimous, meaning that all twelve of the jurors have to agree one way or the other to avoid the judge dismissing the case as a mistrial. As a result, less than five percent of all personal injury cases actually make it into the trial stage.
Your lawyer will advise on you on the steps you will have to take in order to get to trial and will advise you on what a good offer looks like while in mediation or during the settlement process. It is important to understand the steps of the trial so that you can make an educated decision as to whether or not to accept a settlement offer or proceed to court. It is important to know that once you accept a settlement, the case is done, and there are no take-backs or the opportunity to change your mind so consulting with your personal injury attorney before agreeing to a settlement is key.
If you have been injured, and believe that someone else is responsible for your injuries you should immediately take the time to consult with a lawyer who can advise you on the merits of your case. This is also the first step to filing a case. Once an attorney has decided to take the case, they will file the necessary paperwork to get started and ensure that the other side is served appropriately. Following this there will be several stages which include discovery, where each side will build a case by investigating and compiling the evidence to present in the court. The discovery stage is the longest stage since each side will want to investigate all claims and counter claims thoroughly.
Once discovery has been conducted, the two sides will usually engage in pretrial motions and eventually end up in mediation where settlement talks can begin. For defense attorneys, this is when they will start looking at settling the case for as little as possible whereas a plaintiff's personal injury attorney will seek to get as much money as possible for their client.
Throughout the process, it is important for the plaintiff to understand that these things take time and not be in a rush to get through it.