What to Expect During a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuit

Personal Injury • March 26, 2024

When you’re considering legal action following an injury in New Jersey, knowing what to expect from a personal injury lawsuit becomes essential. The outcomes of these suits can have life-changing implications for the injured party and their families, making it essential for them to understand the involved legal steps, from filing all the way to a settlement or verdict. Keep reading to learn some of the basics about Jersey City personal injury cases and how a lawsuit progresses.

Understanding Personal Injury Law

A personal injury lawsuit refers to legal action that is taken when an individual suffers harm due the negligent (or sometimes intentional conduct) of another person to seek compensation for damages and injuries that were caused as a result of their behavior.

Some common incidents leading to personal injury lawsuits include car crashes, slip and falls, work-related injuries, and medical malpractice.

Typically, the injured party must show that the defendant owed them a duty of care to keep them safe and it was breached, leading to damages.

Steps of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New Jersey

Understanding the steps of a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey lays the foundation for your legal journey and helps manage expectations.

Step 1: Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

Before taking any legal action, an initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer is important to ensure you have a solid understanding of the potential strengths and weaknesses of your claim.

During this consultation, your lawyer will discuss the details of your accident and injury, answer any questions you may have about the legal process, and provide their professional opinion on how best to proceed with seeking compensation for your losses.

Step 2: Filing the Lawsuit

Once you’ve decided to pursue a lawsuit and your attorney has gathered all necessary documents, they will prepare the legal complaint. This document outlines the facts of your case, describes your injuries, and itemizes damages you’re claiming while identifying the legal reasons why the defendant should be held liable.

After this complaint is filed with a court in New Jersey, proper legal service is made on the defendant, meaning they physically get served papers informing them of the lawsuit.

Step 3: The Discovery Phase

The discovery phase of a personal injury lawsuit is when both sides share evidence that they’ve gathered. This often involves the exchange of legal questions and answers known as interrogatories or depositions which are testimonies given under oath. The purpose of discovery is so each party can gain more detailed information related to the case, which can be critical for preparing trial strategies and evaluating the overall claim.

Step 4: Negotiation

Following the discovery phase, there is a back-and-forth discussion about the possibility of settling the case outside of court. This means the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain amount of money and the case will not go to trial.

Step 5: The Trial

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to trial. If this happens, you should expect the following:

Jury Selection

A trial typically begins with jury selection, known as voir dire. During this process, potential jurors are questioned by both your attorney and the defense counsel to determine their suitability for serving on the jury without bias.

Opening Statements

Once a jury is selected, each side presents an opening statement. Your lawyer will detail how you were injured and why they believe that the defendant should be held liable. The defendant’s lawyer will also make a statement presenting their perspective of the facts.

Presentation of Evidence

The trial moves on to each party presenting evidence to the jury. As the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will typically begin by introducing evidence that supports your claim. This can include witness testimonies, medical records and reports, accident reports, expert testimony regarding the extent of injuries or future implications, and any other relevant information.

The defense will then have their chance to present their own evidence and witnesses. They might provide information that contradicts or diminishes your claims concerning liability or damages.


During this phase, each side has the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses presented by the opposing party, which is an attempt to question credibility and challenge any testimony provided.

Closing Arguments

Following the presentation of evidence and cross-examination, both sides deliver their closing arguments. This is a final opportunity for your attorney to summarize the facts and evidence presented during trial in a compelling way, arguing why you should receive compensation. Similarly, the defense will articulate reasons disputing their client’s liability or contesting the amount of damages sought.

Jury Deliberation

After closing arguments are delivered, jurors retire to deliberate privately. During deliberation, they will sort through testimony heard and pieces of evidence presented during trial to reach a decision regarding both liability (who is at fault for your injuries) as well as how much in damages you should receive.

Step 6: The Verdict and Appeals

Once the jury reaches a decision in your New Jersey personal injury case, they return to the courtroom where the verdict is announced. They will outline their findings on liability and damages. In some cases, the party who isn’t successful may have a chance to appeal the verdict.

Navigating the steps of a personal injury lawsuit in New Jersey can be complex and time-consuming. However, with an understanding of the general steps – from filing your complaint to potential appeals following a verdict – you give yourself a chance to make informed decisions throughout this process.

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, it is never advisable to take on this journey alone. Seeking professional legal advice helps ensure your rights are protected and maximizes your potential compensation. If you need help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our New Jersey personal injury attorneys.