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What Happens When I Go To Court For My Personal Injury Claim?

It’s true that most personal injury claims settle before they reach court. 

So while that means the chances of you actually having to attend court are quite low, it is sill possible. So you should still be prepared, just in case yours is one of the few cases that end up in a court hearing.

Disclaimer: This guide outlines general topics you should be thinking about if you want to make a personal injury claim. But it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact a specialist personal injury claim solicitor for guidance on your specific circumstances.

What Happens When I Go To Court For My Personal Injury Claim?

Most personal injury cases settle before getting to court. But if your case is one of the few that doesn’t settle, you need to know how a personal injury court operates, what to call people and how to give credible evidence.

It’s the week before your personal injury court case and you’re freaking out.

What do you call people? Where do you stand? What do you say?

Court is alien territory for most people, that’s for sure.

The first thing to remember is this: even though you have a date to appear in court, only a tiny portion of personal injury cases end up in a full court hearing.

In the days and hours before your court hearing, the barristers will keep trying to settle.

If a court hearing can be avoided at all, it will.

Full court hearings are risky – nobody knows how a judge will view your case. And nobody wants to be on the losing side and risk having to pay everyone’s legal costs. When the stakes are high, minds get focused and serious discussions happen.

So, right up to the minutes before you go into the courtroom, there is always a chance that your case will settle.

But…

If your case is one of the few that doesn’t settle, and it goes in front of a judge to decide, you need to be ready.

You need to be ready for intense negotiations, be ready to tell your story in the witness box, and be ready to play your part in getting the compensation award you deserve.

Here’s how court hearings usually go (remember, you’re the plaintiff):

Personal Injury Claim Court Running Order

The plaintiff’s barrister introduces the case to the court

The plaintiff witnesses give evidence in favour of the claim (this includes you)

The plaintiff witnesses can be cross-examined by the defendant’s barrister

The defence witnesses give evidence against the claim

The defence witnesses can be cross-examined by the plaintiff barrister

The defence barrister gives a summary of the defence case to the judge

The plaintiff’s barrister gives a summary of the case to the judge

The judge can either make a decision immediately, or can take some time to think about it and issue their decision at a later point.

Of course, when you read all that, it’s natural to be nervous.

Giving evidence (and especially being cross-examined) can strike fear into the heart of the bravest people around.

But it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. If you’re prepared, you’ll find most of the questions easy to answer.

But if you still think your confidence levels need a boost, you can use some of the evidence-giving tips in the next section.  

The above article is part of our guide on how to make a personal injury claim in Northern Ireland.

If you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, you should get in touch with a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor who will help you assess the strength of your case.

If you have any questions, you are very welcome to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team @ Lightlaw

Every effort is made to keep this guide up to date. Although it is not to be regarded as legal advice, we strive to make sure the information is helpful, accurate and practical. If you are a Northern Ireland personal injury solicitor and have spotted an inaccuracy, you can submit a suggested change.