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What to Expect if a Personal Injury Case Goes to Trial

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In a personal injury case, there are two possible outcomes: settlement or trial. Settlement is the most common way of resolving personal injury cases because it saves time and money for both parties involved. However, some cases cannot be settled through negotiations, which means the case will have to go to trial. In the fiscal year of 2022, New York City successfully resolved 12,188 claims and lawsuits, resulting in a historic payout of $1.5 billion, the highest amount ever recorded in the City’s history. Over the past decade, the City has averaged approximately $1 billion per fiscal year in settlements across various claim types. Notably, payouts for personal injury and property damage claims, collectively referred to as “tort claims,” amounted to $688.4 million, marking an 18 percent increase from the $583.0 million spent in FY 2021.

Among the settlements, the five most expensive claim types in FY 2022 were civil rights, motor vehicle crashes, police action, accidents in schools, and medical malpractice. These specific claim categories accounted for $482.7 million in costs, representing 71 percent of all personal injury claim settlements during the fiscal year.

If you live in New York and have suffered personal injuries, you must contact a reputable New York personal injury law firm. They will help you get maximum compensation for your losses. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what you should expect if your case goes to trial.

Pre-trial preparation

Before going to trial, there are several steps that your lawyer will take in order to prepare for the case:

  • Discovery phase. This is the process where both sides gather information from each other about their evidence, witnesses, and experts.
  • Depositions. These are formal interviews where lawyers from either side can question witnesses under oath.
  • Motions. Both parties often file motions with the court before trial, arguing for or against certain pieces of evidence.

Jury selection

Once discovery is completed and all pre-trial motions have been argued and decided by the court, then comes jury selection. During this phase, both your lawyer and insurance company’s lawyer (the defendants) – as well as each side’s jury consultant if they have one – will ask potential jurors questions about their backgrounds and experiences in an attempt to weed out anyone who may be biased one way or another. This process aims at ensuring that jurors selected for your case will be impartial.

Opening statements

After jury selection proceeds, opening statements from both sides are heard, during which your attorney presents an overview of the facts as they relate specifically to your claim while highlighting key evidence.

Presentation of evidence 

During the presentation of evidence, both sides introduce testimony from eyewitnesses, including expert witnesses who offer their opinions about specifics related to liability and damages sustained by the victim(s). The plaintiff presents its direct examination, followed by the defense cross-examination, then redirects and re-cross. After doing so, both sides present their closing arguments – a summary of what they presented during the trial and why the jury should rule in their favour.

Jury deliberation

After all the testimonies have been given and closing arguments have been heard by the court, jury deliberation will begin. The jurors will consider all presented evidence and witness testimony in coming to a conclusion about your case. Depending on how complicated your claim is, it can take anywhere from hours to days for them to arrive at a decision.


Once the jury comes to an agreement regarding liability and damages towards you or the accused party, they notify the judge, who then reads it aloud before announcing that the trial is over. 


Going to trial can be nerve-wracking for plaintiffs. After all, nobody wins without bearing high costs. Even after winning a lawsuit, oftentimes, expenses already exceed what was granted through settlement offers before going to court. But sometimes, it’s necessary to receive fair compensation for someone else’s wrongdoing.

If ultimately going with this route, the best advice would be to seek the help of legal professionals who will support you every step of the way until the final verdict is delivered.

In the end, a trial can give you a sense of closure and justice that is hard to achieve through settlement negotiations. While it is not always easy, working closely with your lawyer and following their guidance can increase your chances of success in court. With good preparation and perseverance, you can get the outcome you deserve in a personal injury case that goes to trial.

Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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