The 5 Stages of a Personal Injury Trial

microphone at court house

A personal injury trial is always a matter of some tension. The victim or their family has to go through the personal injury process, seeking compensation for damages that could be up to and including the death of a loved one. This kind of situation puts almost unbearable pain and stress on a family, which is only heightened by the confusion that they often find themselves in. Knowing the shape that the future is going to take can relieve at least some of that burden and leave them more able to face the personal injury trial process.

1. Filing the Complaint For the best results, get a personal injury lawyer Etobicoke you trust. You want a good lawyer on your side right from the beginning because the very first thing that you’re going to have to do is put your complaint together. This document doesn’t have to be long but it does have to be thorough. It as to include your complaint, a chronological sequence of events, and the type of relief that you’re seeking—usually money, and typically the specific amount (plus a certain percentage so that you can compromise in case of settlement.)

2. Serve the Defendant. As an injury law firm in Etobicoke, we know plenty of services that can help with this next part. The defendant has to be made aware that they are, in fact, a defendant. This means that they have to be served their paperwork. You cannot do this yourself, but there are many professional services who can do it for you. The defendant has 30 days to file an answer and things can proceed from there.

3. The Discovery Process. This is the longest process of the proceedings. You and your defendant (and your respective lawyers) trade information during this process. There are depositions, requests for documents, interrogations, and more. The only rules are that is has to be relevant and non-privileged information. In the course of suing someone for negligence resulting in a serious slip and fall accident, they couldn’t ask you if you’re cheating on your wife—it has no bearing on the case. They also couldn’t compel a doctor to reveal confidential information about a patient, and so on. This is typically where the meat of the case is handled. In a typical case, one side or the other quickly realizes that their case isn’t as strong as they believed it to be.

4. Motion Practice. This is a request to the court based on a limited part of the case, such as a motion to compel discovery (if one party refuses to coporate.)

5a. Settlement.
In a settlement, both sides compromise. There is some kind of financial transaction and both parties sign an agreement that it’s the end of the matter. If someone flakes out, a court can be petitioned to enforce the agreement.

5b. Trial. 

Very few personal injury cases go to trial; an injury law firm in Etobicoke might see only a few a year. Assuming no one appeals, the trial is the end of the road: one party wins and the other loses.