If you and the party whose negligence caused your personal injury cannot agree on a fair settlement through private negotiations, you have the right to formally file suit and advance your case to a trial in civil court. While these trials can have positive outcomes for plaintiffs and sometimes even result in them getting more compensation than they ever would have received through a settlement, they are also legally and procedurally complex processes with multiple steps and places where an unprepared claimant could torpedo their chances of recovery.
Understanding and progressing effectively through Anaheim personal injury trials is almost always easier with guidance from a qualified legal professional. Having a capable personal injury attorney’s assistance could be key not only to protecting your rights throughout every stage of your proceedings, but also to maximizing the compensation that a civil judge or jury may ultimately award you.
After a personal injury victim files their initial complaint with the court, or has their attorney do so on their behalf, the court will “serve” the defendant(s) named in that complaint or an agent or lawyer representing them with written notice of the lawsuit. The defendant(s), or their legal counsel, will then generally submit an “interrogatory” to the plaintiff consisting of written questions about their case which they must answer truthfully under penalty of perjury. If they wish, the plaintiff and their legal counsel may submit an interrogatory of their own to the defendant(s).
Depending on the circumstances, one or both sides may initiate a “deposition” during which they will ask questions of relevant witnesses under oath, and there is usually a required arbitration phase during which neutral arbitrators will offer a non-binding opinion regarding what a fair settlement would be. If neither this nor an ensuing final settlement conference results in a mutual agreement, the case may proceed to trial.
As with criminal trials, both parties to a civil trial in Anaheim have the right to question potential jurors and, to a certain extent, reject jurors from consideration for their trial. Once the jury is empaneled, the court will schedule a time and date for opening statements from both sides, after which each party will present evidence and testimony supporting their position on how liability for the plaintiff’s injuries should be enforced.
After closing arguments, the judge will provide the jury with specific instructions about how they can reach a verdict and release them to deliberate on the information presented to them. A unanimous jury verdict in the plaintiff’s favor will generally include a recommended award amount. If there is no unanimous verdict at the end of deliberations, the judge may order another trial.
It is rare for defendants who receive unfavorable verdicts in civil court to accept that result without appealing it, and plaintiffs likewise have the right to contest a verdict that they believe was based on a flawed interpretation of state law, lack of sufficient evidence to support the verdict rendered, or a procedural or ethical error that directly influenced the trial’s result. Notably, a nominally victorious plaintiff in Anaheim can appeal a civil trial verdict if they believe the amount of compensation they were awarded is insufficient based on legal or procedural grounds.
Successful appeals commonly lead to another trial being ordered, or potentially even a higher court ordering a set amount to be paid to a plaintiff who lost their initial case due to a procedural error.
If you need to take your injury case to trial, you probably have many questions regarding what to expect. A qualified personal injury lawyer could discuss the appellate process as well as all other aspects of Anaheim personal injury trials during a private initial consultation. Reach out today.
Benji Personal Injury – Accident Attorneys, A.P.C.