Do I Have To Take the Stand if My Personal Injury Case Goes to Court?
What if My Personal Injury Case Goes to Court?
Being involved in an accident is always a stressful time. It doesn’t become less stressful if your case is taken to court.
After a car accident, a victim can collect damages from the negligent individual in two ways.
The insurance company can offer a settlement that the victim accepts, or the victim can go through a civil lawsuit to collect damages.
Let’s discuss this a little further.
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Settlements and Civil Lawsuits
A settlement occurs when the defendant/insurer and the plaintiff/injured party agree on a payment offer to the injured person. Most injury cases are settled because it benefits all parties involved since trials can be lengthy, stressful, and risky.
Gathering evidence like medical records, police reports, and receipts from property damage is enough to get a fair settlement from your personal injury claim without going to trial.
Your injury attorney and the defendant’s representatives will try to reach a settlement during the discovery process.
Insurance companies would rather cut a settlement check instead of putting the matter in the hands of a judge or jury. Also. when the case goes to trial, insurance companies will have to pay additional costs like court fees and the personal injury settlement if they lose.
A pre-trial settlement agreement helps to avoid bad press and public attention. Although most cases settle before going to court, some cases require having a jury trial to get fair compensation.
Reasons You Might Go to Trial
Some injury claims make it to the trial stage to determine who is at fault.
There will be instances when the plaintiff and the insurance company can’t reasonably agree on who was at fault for the accident. The defendant might deny any liability for the plaintiff’s injuries and strongly believe that the evidence supports their positions.
An experienced attorney will present evidence and interview expert witnesses during a trial to determine who is ultimately at fault.
Since only one party can be correct, the trial can go either way. If it is determined that the plaintiff isn’t reasonably at fault, they would be more likely to be entitled to more compensation.
That being said, the defendant may have their counterclaims against the plaintiff. If it’s proven the plaintiff was negligent and at fault, it can hurt their case and potentially reduce their overall financial settlement.
If the insurance company does not believe the plaintiff was injured, they may choose not to settle the plaintiff’s claim or dispute the severity of their claimed injuries. They may argue that the injuries were not a result of the accident but a pre-existing injury that was present before the crash.
Another reason for a car accident case to go to trial is a disagreement on proposed compensation. Insurance companies always look to pay out the least amount of compensation legally possible. It’s why insurance holders and insurance companies commonly disagree on proper compensation.
The plaintiff could benefit from court filings or proceedings to gain an unwavering insurance company’s attention. They would also be more likely to pay up when threatened with the possibility of court.
Do You Have To Testify?
In cases when personal injury claims are settled outside of the courtroom, plaintiffs don’t have to worry about testifying. But if a personal injury case goes to trial, the plaintiff will likely need to testify.
No law requires a plaintiff to testify at a hearing, but the testimony can be beneficial.
Firstly, the plaintiff can establish how the accident actually happened. When the jury doesn’t have the plaintiff’s side of the story, the jury will have to depend on the defendant’s version of events to decide on the issue of negligence. The defendant’s account will likely not tell a story pointing to their negligence.
The plaintiff will also testify to explain the extent of the injuries from the accident.
The accident attorney will introduce documentary evidence to support their claims, like medical reports and bills, or call in experts to testify regarding the extent of their injuries. Still, nothing replaces the victim’s own testimony to convince a jury of their injuries.
Additionally, a doctor’s report explaining the plaintiff’s injuries may not have the same impact as a victim describing their injuries and how it’s affected their lives in their own words. Testifying can trigger sympathy from the jury and create a bond with the plaintiff.
Lastly, the jury must hear if the accident caused non-economic suffering. The jury frequently awards larger non-economic damages than economic damages. Non-economic damages such as pain, suffering, humiliation, and emotional distress cannot be verified through documentary evidence.
While the plaintiff’s testimony is vital to winning a personal injury accident trial, if you testify, it’s important to be confident about what you saw since the other side will perform a cross-examination. They will do their best to poke holes in your statements or attempt to discredit you.
Related Post: The Most Famous Personal Injury Cases
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to prepare you for this stressful event.
While they’re not allowed to “coach” you about what to say at your deposition, they can still guide you in the right direction, so you can be clear, concise, accurate, and truthful to strengthen your testimony and personal injury case.
Going to court is much less stressful with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney from The Brown Firm on your side.
Consult a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney from The Brown Firm for any legal advice or to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Visit our website or contact us at (912) 200-9755 for a Free Consultation to discuss the nature of your case.
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