When you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, their insurance company will likely contact you to try and reach an out-of-court settlement. It’s natural to want to accept the settlement and put the whole ordeal behind you, but in most cases, that’s not your best option.
The reason is that insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they’re going to try to minimize their losses. So, they may offer you less money than you deserve. Even if they’re open to negotiating a higher settlement, they may not be willing to budge much.
That’s where filing a personal injury lawsuit comes in. By filing a lawsuit, you and your legal team can present your case to a jury, who will then decide how much compensation you should receive. So if you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, don’t automatically accept the first settlement offer that comes your way. Instead, speak with a car accident lawyer to see if filing a lawsuit is the best option for you.
What Happens When a Car Accident Case Goes to Trial?
If you’ve been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering what will happen if the case goes to trial. If you and the defendant’s insurance company can’t agree on the damages, your car accident lawyer will file a lawsuit. The legal battle may be long and tedious, but with the help of an auto accident attorney, you can navigate all the steps you need to take. Here are the phases you may go through to prove your case to the jury:
Both the plaintiff and the defendant are required to exchange information during the discovery phase. Here, they will meet for dispositions, and the legal teams on both sides will present the facts they have and even request evidence from the opposing party. The process can be lengthy and thorough and may involve third parties and witnesses that may build the case for either party.
Once the depositions have been made, the legal teams for the defendant and plaintiff will select a jury of 12 members. The lawyers will interview potential jurors to find a group that will not be biased toward any party. Depending on the state’s regulations and the available pool of jurors, the legal team may choose fewer than 12 members for the jury.
During the trial, your car accident attorney and the defendant’s lawyer will give an opening statement on what happened and what they are trying to prove or disprove in the lawsuit. The opening statements are important since they establish the burden of proof that the plaintiff has to meet for the case.
The plaintiff will then present their case, the witnesses, and any evidence they have to prove the defendant’s fault.
Once both parties have presented their cases and all the evidence, they will have to present their closing arguments. Your accident attorney will link the evidence to the case you are building and explain why you deserve to get the amount of money you are petitioning for. On the other hand, the defendant’s lawyers will use the evidence to disprove the case. While delivering their closing arguments, the attorneys aim to sway the jury to rule in their favor.
The jury will then take time away from the court to deliberate on the case and weigh the evidence that both parties presented to the court. The jury will determine whether the plaintiff met their burden of proof, in which case they will rule in their favor. If the plaintiff does not meet their burden of proof, the defendant may not be found liable for the damages that the plaintiff incurred from the accident.
Post Trial Instructions
Once the judge issues the verdict, each party will receive instructions on how to proceed post-trial. For instance, if the defendant is found liable, the court may stipulate the duration for which they have to pay the damages to the plaintiff. The court may also outline the period when the losing party must file an appeal if they believe they received an unfair ruling.
How an Auto Accident Attorney Can Help With Your Car Accident Claim
While the law allows you to deal with accident claims by yourself, it is never a wise idea to go unrepresented in an accident trial. Having an accident attorney has plenty of perks that will improve your chances of winning the case. Here are some ways your car wreck attorney can help with your case.
Explains Your Rights To You
If you have never filed an injury claim, you may be confused about where to begin. Once you have the right accident injury lawyer, you do not have to feel helpless. Your lawyer will explain all your rights when dealing with your injury claim.
Your rights may vary from state to state, depending on the at-fault party. You will need an auto accident attorney with vast experience dealing with your state’s injury laws.
Offer Legal Counsel
Every car injury claim is different. What worked for your next-door neighbor during their accident may not be the best solution for you. Before you decide whether to settle or go to trial, you should seek legal advice from your car accident attorney.
A good lawyer will examine your case and weigh your options to establish the best action for your case. If your case is not strong enough to stand trial, they would advise you to settle instead.
Represent You In Court
If you decide to file a lawsuit instead of settling, your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way. They will be your legal representation and may sometimes appear in court on your behalf. So you do not have to worry about your daunting case if you have an injury attorney.
Your car accident lawyer will also help you gather the evidence you need for your case to stand trial. With their expertise and experience, your car wreck attorney will easily determine what documents, photos, or witnesses will work in your favor and get you a handsome settlement.
While dealing with your attorney, remember to keep track of all documents related to your accident. Some of the documents that may seem irrelevant to you may hold significant value in the case. So be sure to share any documents relating to your injuries with your lawyer.
Negotiate Your Settlement
Your accident attorney can help you negotiate with the other driver’s insurer to ensure you get a fair settlement. The insurance company is more likely to offer you a better deal if you have a lawyer negotiating your case. Most car accident lawyers have experience dealing with insurance adjusters and know the tactics they use to offer you a low settlement.
Determine The Damages You Incurred
When going through your injury claim with your lawyer, you may be shocked at the number of things you missed. Most car crash victims include their current medical bills and not the future costs that may arise from the accident. Your lawyer will help you determine all the possible damages you may incur from your accident and include them in the claim.
The lawyer may have to work with other experts such as doctors, surgeons, and even therapists to establish the scope of damages you should expect. A great car accident lawyer will have links to professionals that can ease the process and determine your losses in good time.
What Will My Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Once you hire a car accident lawyer, here are some things they will do to ensure the success of your settlement or lawsuit.
Obtain Your Health Records and Medical Bills
One of the first steps that your lawyer will take is to contact your healthcare providers and get all your medical records and bills relating to the accident. This will help in calculating the compensation that is due.
While gathering your medical records, your lawyer may seek the opinion of your doctors about the future impact of your injuries. This will help determine how much money your recovery may cost.
Suppose you are disabled as a result of the injuries. In that case, your car accident attorney may also include the disability costs you have incurred, such as the durable medical equipment you have to procure to make your life easier.
They can also get health records from your therapist to file for pain and suffering compensation for your claim.
Communicate With The Parties Involved
Your lawyer will contact the other driver’s insurance company and communicate openly with them about your damages. They will try to negotiate a settlement that is favorable to you.
Your accident injury lawyer will also contact the lien holders involved in your case and try to negotiate a lower and fairer lien for you.
Amass Evidence For Your Case
Like with all court cases, you will need evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence in your car accident lawsuit. Your auto accident attorney will visit the scene and scrutinize the photographs or even your car in a bid to seek evidence. They may also seek expert opinion on the accident to gather evidence and strengthen your case.
Once your lawyer has all the evidence they need, the burden of proving the defendant’s negligence is upon them. They will present the relevant evidence in court and fight for your fair compensation.
Seek Our Legal Experts Today
We know how much of an impact an accident can have on your life. We also know how scary lawsuits can be when facing them for the first time. Luckily for you, you do not have to face them alone. Our car accident attorneys are the best you can get, and we are always ready to represent you in court.
Whether you want to settle out of court or file a lawsuit, we will listen to you and help you decide what option will work best in your case. At Fetterman & Associates, our clients are our priority. Contact us today to get the best legal services.