Despite insurance companies being often difficult to work with, most personal injury claims are settled before the need for a full-blown trial arises. There are, however, instances when an insurance company refuses to increase a settlement offer to one that fully and fairly compensates an injury victim for losses sustained due to the action or inaction of the insurance companies insured, the at-fault party. In other cases, an insurance company may outright deny a claim. Denying a claim or undervaluing a claim may occur for a number of reasons. There may be a disagreement as to who is liable for causing an accident. There may be questions regarding insurance coverage. There may be doubt regarding the extent of the damages sustained by the claimant. In any event, if settlement negotiations should fail, you may be heading for a personal injury trial. Here is some of what you can expect to happen.
What Happens at a Personal Injury Trial?
Before trial, the attorney for the injured party will usually send a demand letter making a request to settle a claim with the insurance company for a certain amount of money. Settlement negotiations will usually follow. When settlement negotiations seem to be going nowhere, a lawsuit may be filed.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the other party will be served and file a response. The often lengthy discovery process will begin. Discovery is, essentially, a fact-finding process where both parties are looking to gain as must information about the other side’s case as possible. Information is gathered through several different means. There are interrogatories, which are extensive lists of questions to be answered by the other side. There are requests for document production, which are requests from one party for the other party to provide them with relevant documentation, such as doctor reports and medical records. There are also depositions that will take place. Depositions allow counsel to interview parties relevant to the case at hand.
After discovery, the parties may try, or be ordered by the court, to try mediation in an attempt to settle the case before trial. At mediation, the mediator, a neutral third party, will try to work with both sides in order to encourage meeting in the middle at a mutually acceptable settlement offer. Should mediation prove unsuccessful, the parties will proceed to trial.
At trial, both sides will present evidence and try to undermine evidence presented by opposing counsel. This evidence will go to the heart of such central issues like liability for causing an accident as well as the extent of damages sustained by the plaintiff. The plaintiff will be working to prove that the defendant was at fault for causing an accident, usually under a theory of negligence, that resulted in injury and other losses to the plaintiff. The defense may fight liability or agree that the defendant was liable for causing the accident, but the injuries or losses sustained by the plaintiff are not accurate. The judge or jury will be tasked with deciding these issues. Either side will have the right to appeal the decision.
Personal Injury Attorney
At Law Office of Bryce Cook, we are prepared to take your claim all the way to court. This is because we will continue to fight for your right to be fully and fairly compensated for your accident injuries. Contact the Law Offices of Bryce Cook today.