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How Personal Injury Trials Work in NYC

While many personal injury cases settle out of court, some will need to go to trial. Some insurance companies really do fight tooth and nail to avoid paying out more than they have to.

Hearing your case needs to go to trial can be stressful, so it’s important to know what to expect.

A great deal happens before the trial date.

We won’t just be sitting idle. We’ll be filing motions and conducting discovery on your behalf. You might feel a little frustrated at how long it takes to actually get the case to trial, but the wait can be a very good thing.

We will ask you to stay as available to our offices as possible. We may have questions we need to ask, documents you need to produce, and meetings you’ll need to attend.

See also: The First 3 Things You Should Do After a New York City Car Accident.

There will be a jury.

In most personal injury cases there will be a jury. There will be six jurors who will decide twp things: whether the defendant has any liability, and the amount of damages that will need to be awarded.

One of our jobs as your personal injury attorney will be to participate in jury selection, a process known as voir dire. We will try to strike jurors who might be too sympathetic to the defendant so you get a better trial outcome.  

See also: Is it Ethical to Pursue a Personal Injury Case?

“Preponderance of Evidence” is the standard.

In a criminal case the plaintiff has to prove the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a civil case, the plaintiff only has to prove responsibility on the defendant’s part. And the standard of that responsibility is “preponderance of evidence.” This is called the “burden of proof.”

It’s an easier standard to meet than “beyond reasonable doubt.” After all, the elimination of all doubt is theoretically pretty difficult. It’s much easier to show a whole mountain of evidence exists as to why the defendant is responsible for your pain and loss.

See also: 3 Things to Avoid Saying After an NYC Car Accident.

The case may not be over when the trial is.

All the witnesses have come forward. Examination and cross-examination has happened.

And you’ve (hopefully) won! The jury awards you a nice big check and you can finally pay all those medical bills.

Except the resolution may not come so quickly. The defendant does have the right to appeal.

The defendant may also decide to delay payment. If that happens, the courts can force them to do as they’ve been ordered to do. But you need an attorney who is going to stay on top of that process or else you may be waiting a long time for money you’ve been counting on. This is sometimes why settlement is preferable: settlement means settlement, and that means there’s nothing more to argue about. A settlement can’t be appealed. The check gets written and everyone goes home.

See also: Top Tips for Dealing With an Insurance Company After an NY Car Accident.

You don’t want a lawyer who is afraid to get in there and litigate, but you don’t want someone who goes in fists swinging to demand it every time, either. It’s important to have a long talk with your lawyer about his or her philosophy on handling personal injury cases before you make the decision to retain him or her. You want to know that whatever decision he or she makes, the lawyer has your best interests at heart.

Got questions? Want to find out if you’ve got a personal injury case? Contact David Leigh Law today to schedule your free consultation.


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New York City

Law Office of David S. Leigh
11 Broadway suite 615, New York, NY, 10004
New York NY 10004
(212) 843-0907

Meet Our Attorney


David S. Leigh

David S. Leigh is a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer committed to helping those in the New York Metro area recover and find fair compensation after an accident or injury. 


David has helped my small business (photography) with several proposals and bid letters. He also took the time to explain the language of each letter. I would definitely use David again for all the legal needs of my business! William F Spencer
William Spencer
William Spencer
21:58 30 Aug 16
I worked with David while at the District Attorney's office. David is very knowledgeable in the law. David has outstanding attention to detail and the critical ability to see the big picture, then find and question the inconsistencies in the reports. This is a fundamental skill that makes a good criminal defense lawyer great. I highly recommend David.
Greg Green
Greg Green
20:27 07 Oct 15
David is a tireless advocate for his clients and a consummate professional with whom I've worked on a variety of legal matters. His character and integrity surely set him apart from many of his contemporaries. As colleague, I wholeheartedly recommend David to anyone seeking counsel in the NYC area.
Hari K. Singh
Hari K. Singh
13:32 05 Oct 15
David is a first-rate trial lawyer. Having had the opportunity to both watch him in trial and personally try a case with him, I can say that I would be glad to have him working with me on a case. His delivery is excellent, as is his ability to connect with a jury.
Bryce Allen
Bryce Allen
21:13 15 Nov 15
Knowledgable and great to work withI can't say enough good things about David. My husband needed his help with language for documents he'd need for his business. David was knowledgeable and told us exactly what we needed to hear. I can't think of anyone else I'd want to work with. The next time we need legal counsel, we're calling David.
Yahaira Castro
Yahaira Castro
14:41 28 Sep 15
I was looking for a personal injury lawyer and a friend of mine referred me to David. David is really smart and also great to work with. He really listens to you, works hard and he knows how to get results.
Lili Grossman
Lili Grossman
17:36 29 Oct 18
When my mother suffered back and shoulder injuries due to a car accident, Mr. Leigh went above and beyond to make sure she was rightfully compensated for her traumatic ordeal. He was tough with the insurance company yet very patient with my older mom, as he navigated her through these complex negotiations. He exemplifies what a personal injury attorney should be and we highly recommend him.
Max Patino
Max Patino
19:02 29 Oct 18
David is a top-notch lawyer who is very diligent in all that he does. He is not only a sharp legal mind, but actually has interpersonal skills that make him a caring advocate for his clients. I have had the privilege of working with David in private law practice and can easily say that few attorneys match him in personability, advocacy, verbal ability, and in-court and deposition strategy.
Samae Rohani
Samae Rohani
01:40 30 Oct 18
I was helping my cousin find an attorney and came across David's firm. We contacted him immediately and scheduled a consultation. He was very thorough and provided us with all the details we needed.
03:27 20 Dec 18
Thoughtful, knowledegable and a great attorney. I needed some legal advice and representation. He was everything you could ask for in a lawyer. David is top notch and I would highly recommend him.
Marisa Osorio
Marisa Osorio
21:24 26 Dec 18
David Leigh is a top notch attorney that I have worked with closely. He has integrity, excellent legal ability, and is able to obtain optimal results for his clients. I recommend him wholeheartedly to anyone looking for the highest level of representation.
Stephanie Plana
Stephanie Plana
22:02 18 Jan 19


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