By the time you finish reading this post, someone will be in a car accident. According to recent data, in 2020 alone, over five million car accidents were reported to the police.
These car accidents result in a wide range of property damage and personal injuries. Car accidents can be anything from minor rear-end collisions to a tragic fatalities.
The primary question with every one of those motor vehicle accidents is, “Who was at fault?” When driver negligence is a factor in determining fault, there needs to be a remedy for the victim of a car accident.
Sometimes that remedy can come from an insurance company claim settlement. In other situations, there is a need to file a car accident lawsuit. That is where an experienced auto accident trial attorney can provide support and guidance.
Reasons You Need a Car Accident Lawyer For A Trial
The hope for anyone who suffers serious injuries from a car accident is to find a fair and fast resolution. Therefore, the first option your personal injury attorney will strive for is an insurance settlement.
That is where the insurance company will make a negotiated payment and avoid proceeding to a trial.
Your personal injury attorney can help determine the amount of the settlement by considering the following factors:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Future therapy
- Pain and suffering
The expertise of your car accident lawyer will provide a fair number for the settlement. The car accident case is settled if both sides agree to that number. However, these car accident matters don’t always end amicably. Even your own insurance company can deny car accident claims.
If the car accident case settlement negotiations fail, it will be time to file a lawsuit. That lawsuit can be against the insurance company, the car’s driver, or the company that hired the driver (if applicable).
Identifying the Involved Parties in Car Accidents
There are two obvious parties involved in a car accident trial. Those would be the two motorists who were part of the car accident. However, there could be other parties named in a car accident lawsuit.
Your car accident lawyer might name an insurance company as a plaintiff. That will be the case if that carrier has denied a fair settlement.
If the other driver in the car accident was working for a company while driving, that company could also be a defendant.
For example, that will often happen in car accidents involving trucks or government vehicles such as buses or trains.
Before any personal injury lawsuit trial starts, there must be a lot of preparation. That is when your car accident lawyer will engage their law firm team to pull together all the necessary evidence to support your care.
An experienced car accident lawyer will have access to various experts and investigators who can support the case. That can involve anything from gathering witness statements to a computer-animated recreation of the car accident.
Additionally, your car accident lawyer will have paralegals at the law firm who will help file the necessary court documents.
With all this preparation, it is easy to see why having experienced car accident attorneys is vital.
Steps Involved in a Personal Injury Trial
When your car accident attorney recommends proceeding with a lawsuit, there will be a legal process to follow. However, it will help you understand what is ahead to make informed decisions about your car accident case.
Remember that you will be present every day of the trial. That means you will need to follow court procedures. Therefore, you always want to act professionally, especially in the presence of the judge and jury.
Here are the different steps involved in a car accident trial:
Before the trial begins, the defendants and plaintiffs must share what they know about the car accident. The discovery is an exchange of information, such as witness statements, medical bills and police reports, and depositions from the various parties.
There could also be evidence from the insurance company about their initial insurance claim denial.
A Jury is Seated
When the attorneys are satisfied with the discovery exchange, the lawsuit moves to seat a jury.
That jury will come from a pool of prospective jurors interviewed by both sides. The jury is seated when there are 12 acceptable jurors, and the trial can get underway.
On the first day of the trial, both the plaintiff and the defense will present an opening statement.
These statements will lay out the broad strokes of the personal injury claim that the attorneys intend to prove or disprove during the trial.
Next, each side will have an opportunity to present evidence and question that evidence. That evidence can come from a variety of sources, including the following:
- Police report
- Witness testimony
- Medical professionals
- Accident scene photos
- Expert witnesses
This is also the part of the trial where you might serve as a witness. That will be your chance to describe the events of the car accident. It will also allow you to detail your lost wages and the pain and suffering resulting from the car accident.
You will only have to testify if your attorney thinks it is a good move for the desired outcome.
After both sides present their evidence and rebuttals, there will be closing arguments. That is when your car accident attorney will summarize the case and review the salient pieces of evidence to support your claim.
Deliberations and a Jury Verdict
The judge presiding over your trial will give the jury instructions for their deliberations. Those instructions will set up the parameters for how the jury should proceed.
After those deliberations, there will be a verdict. If the defendant is found liable, you win the car accident case.
Your car accident attorney will be with you through every step of the trial offering guidance and support.
The Pay Out
When the case goes in your favor, the last act your car accident lawyer will be involved with will be collecting the payout for your car accident claim. You will not have to chase down the plaintiffs to get that payout.
Hire An Experience Car Accident Attorney
There is never a guarantee for an outcome with a personal injury lawsuit. However, the right car accident lawyer will only take on a case if they think it has merit.
That often happens after an initial free consultation. Working with a qualified car accident lawyer is the best way to achieve a favorable outcome for your serious car accident case.