A common question asked by personal injuryclients is “Does filing a personal injury lawsuit require me to go to trial?”
More than likely not. Although there is the possibility that a trial will take place, more than 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle without a trial. A settlement doesn’t always happen the same way. Sometimes a settlement will happen during meditation, or even right after a lawsuit is filed. But sometimes a settlement won’t occur until just before trial or after a plaintiff has given his disposition. It isn’t necessary to stress about having to go through a grueling trial, but be aware that it could happen.
If a lawsuit actually does go to trial, the plaintiff/victim will need to provide a burden of proof in order to win the lawsuit. What is a burden of proof? In criminal cases, it basically means that you have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a more difficult thing to prove than civil personal injury lawsuits where the plaintiff/victim only needs to prove that they are more than likely right – over 50%.
When a lawsuit goes to trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant are even on a judicial scale. During the trial, the evidence is brought out to help prove each sides case. The evidence isn’t always a physical piece of evidence like photos or documents. Evidence can also be witness and expert testimonies, or plaintiff/defendant testimonials. The evidence is meant to help the arguments of either side and encourage the jurors to side with them.
The justice scale is tipped each time evidence is shown during the trial. The scale tips in the plaintiff/defendant’s favor more as he/she provides more evidence. However, some evidence is much stronger than others and really have more of an effect on the scale of justice. So, the scale isn’t necessarily going to tip in each parties favor as they present evidence. If the plaintiff provided very strong evidence that tipped the scale in his direction, the opposing party would have to present evidence of a much stronger nature to tip the scale back to their side. The winner of the trial is the party that has provided stronger evidence and ends the trial with the scale tipped more in their favor.
This type of scenario is common in lawsuits that are trying to prove negligence on the defendant’s part. This happens in auto accidents, bicycle accidents, and other similar types of accidents. Some personal injury lawsuits begin with the defendant already presumably at fault. In these types of cases, the plaintiff has no need to provide a burden of proof. He/she only needs to prove damages made to them.
Personal injury lawsuits should not be handled on your own. It is extremely important to consult with personal injury attorneys’ that know the laws regarding different types of personal injury lawsuits and what you will need to prove to win. Having a consultation with a personal injury attorney can make the difference between winning a lawsuit and failing to provide enough evidence to prove your case and losing.
In Billings Montana, reach out to the professionals at Tourtlotte Law Firm. Our team is experienced and ready to help you win your case!