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Will My Portland Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Will My Portland Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

Personal injuries happen due to negligence, intentional torts, strict liability, and other wrongdoing. In Oregon, you can sue the party who harmed you to recover compensation for damages. However, most personal injury cases are resolved without filing a lawsuit, and many lawsuits settle without going to trial.

Understanding the personal injury claims process can help you anticipate whether your case might go to trial. Working with an experienced Portland personal injury attorney who is a resourceful negotiator and a skilled litigator means you are prepared for any situation that could arise.

How Does a Personal Injury Case Begin in Portland, Oregon?

How Does a Personal Injury Case Begin in Portland, Oregon?

A personal injury refers to injuries to your body, emotions, or reputation. 

Therefore, personal injury cases begin with accidents or injuries, such as: 

A personal injury recovery is the compensation you receive for your economic and non-economic damages caused by another party’s negligence or wrongful acts. 

What Are the Steps Involved in the Personal Injury Claims Process?

Personal injury cases differ, but the general steps of the process include:

Seeking Medical Treatment for Injuries

It is crucial to seek prompt medical attention. You must prove that the party’s actions or inactions caused your injuries. Therefore, you need medical evidence linking your injuries to the accident or other conduct by the at-fault party.

Delays in medical care could cause problems in your personal injury case. The other party may allege that your injuries were not caused by the accident because of the delay in seeing a doctor. They may also state that you failed to mitigate damages, which could lower how much money you receive.

Hiring a Portland Personal Injury Attorney

Most people benefit from hiring an experienced Portland personal injury lawyer to handle their claims. Attorneys understand the law and how insurance companies operate. The insurance company has unlimited resources to fight your claim. Hiring an attorney means a legal team is looking out for your best interests.

Investigating the Claim and Gathering Evidence

An attorney has the resources and skills to investigate your claim and gather evidence. Injured parties have the burden of proving the legal elements to establish causation, fault, and liability. If you cannot prove each element of the case, a court may not hold the other party responsible for your damages.

Most personal injury cases are based on negligence

Winning a negligence claim requires you to have evidence proving:

Your lawyer may hire expert witnesses to assist in investigating and preparing the case. While you complete your medical treatment, your attorney gathers evidence to build a solid claim for damages.

Calculating Personal Injury Damages

Damages in a personal injury case depend on the facts and circumstances. However, most claims include economic and non-economic damages

Examples of damages include:

  • The expenses and cost of medical treatment, including ongoing medical bills for long-term injuries
  • Rehabilitative therapies, including occupational and physical therapy
  • The cost of in-home nursing, personal care, and long-term care
  • Loss of income, including benefits, future lost wages, and reduced earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Scarring, disfigurement, impairment, and disability
  • Physical pain and suffering

If you sustained a life-altering disability, you could receive future damages. Medical specialists, financial professionals, and other experts can assist in estimating the costs and damages over the rest of your life.

Insurance companies use every tactic and trick in their books to undervalue damages. Your attorney understands the actual value of your losses and how to use the evidence to support them.

Settlement Negotiations

When you complete medical treatment (i.e., reach maximum medical improvement), your attorney will prepare a settlement demand letter. The letter is intended to lay out the personal injury case in a way that convinces the insurer to pay the amount you demand for settlement.

The insurance company has investigated the claim and gathered evidence, too. A claims representative will review the demand letter and prepare a response. They could pay the claim or deny it altogether. In many cases, the company issues a counteroffer for a lower amount, which begins back-and-forth settlement negotiations as each party argues their case.

Signing a Settlement Agreement

If you accept an offer, your attorney prepares a settlement agreement. Signing an agreement without legal representation is not in your best interest. The agreement includes waivers of liability. In other words, you agree to give up your right to pursue further claims by accepting the settlement amount.

You may need to file a lawsuit and proceed to trial if negotiations fail.

What Are the Steps For Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Portland, OR?

Your attorney may have already filed a personal injury lawsuit. In some situations, filing a lawsuit earlier in the case is a strategy used to pressure the insurance company to settle the claim. If you reach a settlement, the lawsuit is dismissed.

The basic steps in a personal injury lawsuit include:

  • File a complaint against the party who caused your injuries with the civil court.
  • Wait for a response to the complaint, usually from an attorney hired by the insurance company.
  • During the discovery phase, both parties request evidence and information from each other and other relevant parties as they build their case for court.
  • Settlement negotiations often occur after discovery is complete. Many lawsuits settle at this point. The parties have a better idea of the strength of their case and the probability of winning at trial.
  • Judges decide pre-trial motions. These motions may deal with matters of law, such as evidence and jurisdiction.
  • The trial begins with opening statements by both parties. The injured party (plaintiff) presents their evidence, followed by the at-fault party (defendant).
  • Jurors are the triers of fact in a personal injury trial. They decide what evidence to believe and if it is sufficient to prove the case.

You can settle a personal injury lawsuit any time before the jury reaches a verdict. Once the jury reaches a verdict, the trial ends. Either party could appeal the decision if they believe they have legal grounds.

Should I Go to Trial or Accept a Personal Injury Settlement in Portland?

Many factors must be considered to decide whether to go to trial or settle a personal injury case. For example, comparative fault could be a factor. If you could be partially to blame for causing your injury, going to trial might not be the best option. On the other hand, if you have strong evidence and the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, going to trial may be what you should do.

Your attorney will discuss these factors with you and give you their legal opinion, but it is your decision whether to accept a settlement.

Are You Unsure What to Do After an Accident or Injury in Portland, OR?

The best way to know whether you have a personal injury case is to speak with an attorney. Call a Portland personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. An attorney will explain your legal options so you can make a decision that is best for your situation. Call Tillmann Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer at (503) 773-3333 to schedule your free consultation.

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