Not every case would have a plaintiff winning a large compensation. Not every case would end with a negotiated settlement. Still, the proceedings for both of those cases would match the proceedings for an average personal injury claim.

The initial steps in any such proceeding

The filing of a complaint: The courthouse that receives the complaint must be the one that would have jurisdiction over resolution of the reported dispute. That same courthouse would not accept the complaint, unless it contained all the essential elements for charging the opposing party with negligence.

Motions made by the Injury Lawyers in Burlington of the opposing parties: A judge rules on each of the motions. The court could agree to hear a motion to dismiss, if it were made.

Efforts to prove liability are a key part of the proceedings

The lawyers could try to negotiate a settlement. A settlement offer might be made. Ideally, the offer triggers a counteroffer and, eventually, agreement on a settlement figure.

In the absence of a negotiated settlement, a judge and jury would rule on which of the opposing parties should be held liable for damages.

How would process move forward, if there were no negotiated settlement?

The person that had filed the complaint could decide to proceed with a lawsuit.

—That might happen if the defendant’s insurance company had ceased to take part in the negotiations, or had failed to come forward with a reasonable offer.

—At that point, the discovery process would begin and a deposition would be scheduled. That would allow for the emergence of more evidence. Sometimes, the appearance of newer and stronger evidence leads to an agreement on a settlement.

—If the 2 opposing sides were not able to settle their dispute during the discovery session, then the court would schedule a date for a trial. During the trial, the opposing parties would face each other in a courtroom. Each of the lawyers would use their opening statements to argue in favor of their client. Then the same lawyers would present the evidence and question the witnesses.

Some cases are heard by both a judge and jury; sometimes only a judge gets to hear a given personal injury case. If a jury decides the issue of liability, then, following the lawyers’ closing statements, the jurors meet in secret and share their views. Eventually, the jury returns to the courtroom and announces its verdict.

After the judge has heard the verdict, then the defendant learns how much money he or she must pay the plaintiff. If the defendant were to win, then the plaintiff would not receive any money. Yet that would not be the way that an average case’s proceedings would come to an end.