Proceedings in civil court cases
If your civil court case has not been settled 'out-of-court', it will be set down for trial before a court.
Liability in issue
If the defendant in the case has not admitted he/she is at fault, the trial will take the following format;
- Your barrister will outline to the judge the nature of the case and the injuries you suffered.
- Medical evidence relating to your injuries may be given by a doctor if appropriate to your case.
- An engineer may be called to give evidence if necessary.
- You are called to give evidence:
- This will involve swearing on oath and answering the questions posed to you by your barrister as clearly and concisely as possible. You will give evidence relating to how the accident occurred and your injuries.
- When your barrister has finished asking you questions, you will be cross-examined by the barrister on the other side. The object of cross-examination is to discover the truth so you may be asked questions about inconsistencies in your evidence. You may also be told what the defendant or his/her witnesses say is the true version of events and asked to comment on their evidence.
- All the other witnesses on your side give evidence and are cross-examined.
- The defendant's witnesses are each called to the witness box and give evidence. Your barrister may cross-examine each one of them.
- When all the witnesses have been called, both barristers may make submissions to the judge. This may include summarising or emphasising certain evidence or making legal arguments.
- The judge will make his/her decision on:
- Whether the defendant is at fault and therefore liable to pay damages to you,
- The amount of damages to which you are entitled as a result of your injuries and
- Who shall pay the costs of the proceedings.
Usually, if you have won the case, the judge will order that the defendant pay your legal costs as well as his/her own. If you lose, it is likely you will have to pay the costs of both sides.
If the defendant admits that he/she is to blame for your injuries and you are not happy with the amount offered in settlement of damages, then the matter will be sent to a court for judgement on the amount of damages you are entitled to.
In this situation, the court does not consider the question of who is to blame. The judge will merely place a value on your case based on an examination of the nature and extent of your injuries and the prognosis for the future. This examination will be conducted by considering the available medical reports and/or hearing medical practitioners' evidence relating to your injuries.
You will be called as a witness so that you can describe your injuries.
When will you receive the award?
Usually awards as a result of civil cases are paid by the defendant to your solicitor within 6 to 8 weeks.