There are a few steps leading up to a personal injury trial in Arkansas. Plaintiffs need to gather evidence to make a claim. They must also have proof of their medical costs and other damages.
When you want to recover damages from your injuries, you must start by sending a demand letter to their insurance company and attorney. In the demand letter, you need to list your damages and legal claims. The other party may accept your request, make a counter offer or decline it.
Assuming that you weren’t able to negotiate a fair settlement, you would then file a civil complaint to start a personal injury lawsuit. The court will issue a summons for you to deliver to the other person, along with a copy of your complaint.
After the defendant has had time to answer the complaint, the lawsuit goes into a discovery phase. You and the defendant must exchange evidence. Interrogatories and depositions may also occur. You can continue trying to settle the issue with the defendant.
When you still aren’t able to settle, you will need to show up on your trial date to argue your case in front of a judge or jury. You and the defendant will have time to present your evidence and provide testimony. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. This means you must prove that the defendant is more likely than not responsible for your damages. If the case involves punitive damages, then you might have an additional higher burden of proof. You may need to provide “clear and convincing evidence” in this situation.
You and the defendant may be able to appeal the verdict. In this situation, the appeals court would either overturn the verdict, set a new trial or reject the request.
Personal injury trials are more time-consuming and expensive than settling. Most cases never make it to the formal trial because the plaintiff and defendant found it best to reach a settlement.