Will I Have to Testify in Court in My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
There is no guarantee that you won’t have to testify if you file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if your case ultimately goes to trial, you will not be able to avoid it. It is understandable if you are apprehensive about the possibility of testifying. If you are like most plaintiffs in a personal injury lawsuit, you likely have never been called to do so in a courtroom setting before. This process can feel intimidating, but there is no reason to worry. With the right legal counsel, you can enter the courtroom prepared for any questions.
Moreover, your New York City personal injury lawyer can do more than prepare you for the day of trial. Most claims are resolved through a negotiated settlement, and your legal counsel can help you pursue fair compensation without ever having to appear in court.
When testifying is necessary
Ultimately, if you take your case to trial, you can expect to testify. Most of the time, this becomes necessary when facts are disputed between the parties. Without your testimony, it may be impossible to make the case that the other party was at fault.
There are two important factors you may need to testify about at trial. Without establishing both of these, you are unlikely to prevail in your case. The first is showing that the other person was at fault for your injury. If the defendant disputes this, your testimony could be the only evidence available to prove otherwise.
Your testimony might also be necessary to establish the amount of compensation you are entitled to. In some cases, your attorney can introduce your medical bills or seek expert testimony from your doctor to establish your damages. In other instances, only your testimony can prove this. For example, it might be the most persuasive evidence that confirms your pain and suffering that resulted from the accident. Without it, you might not be able to obtain the compensation you deserve.
When cases often settle without going to trial
If you are concerned about the possibility of testifying, the good news is that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits never go to trial. In most cases, liability is clear or the amount of damages makes litigation too expensive for the insurance company.
It is possible for a lawsuit to settle at any point. In fact, a large number of personal injury claims are concluded with a mutual settlement before a lawsuit is ever filed. The first step in the claims process involves the attorney for the plaintiff sending a demand letter to the defendant. This letter typically offers to drop the claim in exchange for a monetary settlement. The demand letter often kicks off the negotiations that ultimately resolve a claim.
In some cases, these claims could wrap up in a matter of days. If a settlement does not come together, a lawsuit will become necessary. Filing suit does not foreclose the possibility of a settlement, however. Negotiations often continue after the filing of the summons and complaint.
There are specific points in a personal injury lawsuit that are more likely than others to lead to a settlement. One of the first examples is after the discovery phase. In many cases, it may not be immediately clear to both sides where liability lies. The discovery phase of the lawsuit often clears up which party is at fault. After discovery, the defendant or their insurance might review the evidence and conclude that they have little chance of prevailing at trial. This type of realization increases the odds of a settlement.
Lawsuits also frequently settle on the eve of trial. Many defendants come to the realization that they are unprepared for the consequences. Even cases that seemed unlikely to settle often resolve in the lead-up to the trial date.
Discuss your options with a free consultation at Douglas & London
We will work tirelessly to obtain a favorable settlement in your claim. If your case must go to trial, we can ensure that you are prepared and know what to expect. Contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.