There are many different ways that a New Orleans personal injury lawsuit may be resolved without a trial by jury. While television shows may give the impression that trials are a common occurrence, in reality very few lawsuits actually conclude with a jury trial – especially lawsuits in which the issues are clearly in favor of one party or the other.
Probably the most common manner in which personal injury cases involving little factual dispute are resolved is simply through the parties reaching an agreement on how much the case should be resolved for. While this may sound relatively straightforward, it can actually be a complicated process that requires time and a skilled personal injury attorney. Although the defendant may understand that damages will ultimately have to be paid, the defendant will wish to minimize the amount. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to accurately assess the value of the damages and know how to apply pressure upon the defendant to pay an amount that fairly compensates the injured party.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the injured party who has a strong case may consider pursuing a motion for summary judgment. A motion for summary judgment is a formal request asking the judge overseeing the lawsuit to determine that there is no actual issue of material fact to be decided at trial. If the judge determines that there is no genuine issue, the party making the request will be found entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The purpose of summary judgment motion is to obtain a just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution by avoiding a trial in cases where there is no genuine factual dispute.
A motion for summary judgment does not, however, have to dispose of every issue in a personal injury lawsuit. A judge is allowed to rule on any specific issue within a case and may, for example, find that a party is negligent as a matter of law while leaving other issues open to dispute. While not completely disposing of the lawsuit, a ruling by the court on individual issues in the injured party’s favor may result in the defendant being more inclined to resolve the personal injury lawsuit short of trial by negotiating a just settlement.
If you have suffered a personal injury, please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER with any questions. We would be happy to assist you.