While most personal injury cases settle out of court, insurance companies and responsible parties will not always offer an appropriate settlement amount for damages. When that happens, the injured party, with the help of a skilled injury attorney, can decide to take the case to trial. In a civil trial setting, a judge or jury will determine if the individual should receive damages and how much those damages should be worth.
But going to trial in Cumberland County is a long process. Before the trial date begins, there are many steps that both parties and their attorneys must follow.
Discovery Process in an Injury Trial
The discovery process is a time when the attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant can start collecting evidence that will help prove their case. Evidence collected during the discovery process may include police reports, medical reports, photographs, eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, and even measurements indicating important facts of the case such as the speed a vehicle was traveling.
It is also not uncommon during the discovery process for the plaintiff to receive a medical examination by a doctor chosen by the lawyer for the defendant. During this process, an attorney can collect the facts of the case, understand the laws, and be able to apply those laws to any specific case.
What are Interrogatories?
Interrogatories often intimidate injured parties when they first hear of them because they imagine being in a small room with a detective or other lawyer who is questioning them. But that is not what interrogatories are in personal injury law.
Instead, these are simply written questions the plaintiff must answer. Typically, they are very basic and allow the court to become more familiar with the case. The questions will deal with the specifics of the case including how the accident occurred, the injuries the individual sustained, and the expenses such as medical expenses and lost wages the person incurred because of their injury.
Depositions in Cumberland County
In addition to the interrogatories, the plaintiff must also appear at a deposition. During this deposition, the plaintiff and defense attorneys will ask many of the same questions the individual answered in the interrogatories, although they will most likely include other questions and specifics as well.
Depositions can be intimidating for the plaintiff. They will likely be worried that they will say the wrong thing or otherwise hurt their case. There is no need for this concern, however. An attorney can help the plaintiff prepare for the deposition and inform them of what to expect during it.
Difference Between Arbitration and a Trial
The last pre-trial step is arbitration. This is a hearing in which an objective arbitrator will hear the perspectives of all parties involved before deciding whether the plaintiff should receive damages. If an arbitrator decides the plaintiff has a strong case, they will also determine the amount of damages to award.
But this arbitration is not binding, which means the plaintiff does not have to accept the award if they believe they could get more at trial. The plaintiff and defendant also have 30 days to determine whether they want to accept the arbitrator’s decision. If they decide not to accept the amount, a trial date will then be set.
Let a Cumberland County Personal Injury Attorney Help
There are many steps to follow before any personal injury case goes to trial. It is a long, intimidating process that is difficult for anyone to navigate but may be especially difficult for personal injury victims.
An injury lawyer in Cumberland County can be a great help throughout the entire process, which is why those who suffered injuries should seek the advice of a qualified attorney before filing their personal injury claim.