In general, personal injury claims, which includes car accidents, rarely end up going to trial. Usually, they are settled beforehand as there is clear evidence of fault and a fair agreement is reached. If you’re worried about your car accident case going to trial, it most probably will not. However, there are a few circumstances where it may be necessary. Here is an overview of the scenarios that could result in trial and some information to introduce you to the process with ease.
When to Pursue a Trial
Car accident cases go to trial when an agreement cannot be made and both parties want to pursue the case. This could happen if the settlement is believed to be unfair or the parties cannot come to a decision as to whose fault the accident was. When an insurance company is involved, unfair pay-outs could lead to court if the value being offered is considerably less than how much the vehicle is worth. If the other party refuses to accept any blame for the accident and you believe this to be wrong, the case could end up going to trial. Discuss your case with an experienced attorney for car accidents as they can provide you with personalized suggestions as to what is the best course of action and give you guidance throughout the process.
There are five steps in the process of a trial. Firstly, the complaint is filed and sent to the defendant, who then responds back to this initial complaint. This is followed by a discovery period, where evidence for the trial is collected and analyzed by the attorneys. It is crucial that all evidence is presented at this stage so both parties can look at it, as anything new presented in court will be disregarded. The trial then takes place, the evidence is presented, and the jury come to a decision. If either party disagree with the outcome of the trial, an appeal can be made.
During the Trial
There are several significant people present at the trial. This includes you, the plaintiff, and your attorney; the defendant and the defending council, if they have decided to hire an attorney; the judge, who leads the trial; and the jury, who come to a final decision based on the evidence presented in court. First, opening statements are provided by each party. All evidence for your case is then presented by your attorney. This could include witness statements, medical evidence, and police reports. The defending council will then cross-examine this evidence and present their side. Closing statements are then given by each party to summarize their arguments. Using all this information, the jury will decide which party was at fault for the accident and how much compensation is to be awarded for the damages. This deliberation stage can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Once a decision has been reached, the judge presents the outcome to the court.
Trials can be expensive and time consuming, which is why they are usually avoided in cases of car accidents. If your attorney advises you that it is necessary, you now have the knowledge to begin the process with confidence.