Over 95 percent of all personal injury claims reach a settlement because most insurance companies don’t want to go to court. It’s in their interest to settle outside court, and most of the time, they do it as fast as possible and pay as little as they can.
Some car accident cases do reach trial, however, for various reasons. Perhaps the victim doesn’t agree with the compensation amount, and they filed the case in court.
What happens when an auto accident injury case goes to trial?
In this short guide, we’ll help you understand what will happen when your auto accident injury case reaches trial and what to expect during the hearing. With this information, you can prepare yourself for what’s to come.
When an Auto Accident Injury Case Goes to Trial
In most states, a jury decides the issues involved in car accident cases.
The jury may comprise 12 people but sometimes that number could be lower. The first stage of a trial is known as the “voir dire,” and it is during this time that the jury is selected. Once selected, the hearing can commence.
1. Opening Statements
The hearing will start with opening statements from the attorneys from both sides. In most cases, the attorney defending the plaintiff goes first because the plaintiff needs to prove all allegations.
This opening statement is an opportunity for both attorneys to lay out the case for the jury in terms of what they’ll provide or refute. This could take anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Presentation of Evidence by the Plaintiff
After the opening statements, the attorney representing the plaintiff will be the first one to present evidence. This is also because they have the burden of proof. They will call witnesses such as the plaintiff and any bystanders available to testify.
The lawyer will try to establish how the accident happened and, if necessary, call the plaintiffs’ doctor to address the injuries and medical treatment required for a full recovery. Once the attorney is done, they will rest their case to show they are done, and the defendant’s attorney can present their case.
3. Presentation of Evidence by the Defendant
After the plaintiffs’ attorney is done, your attorney will also present all the evidence they have to defend you. They will also call all the witnesses available to support your claim.
For instance, there may have been a bystander who contradicts the plaintiff’s version of events and takes your side. Your attorney may also present a doctor that disagrees with the opinion presented by the plaintiff’s doctor.
4. Closing Arguments
Once all the evidence is presented to the judge and jury, both attorneys have to give their closing statements.
The closing arguments are all about persuading the jury to draw their conclusion and judgment from the evidence presented. Of course, both attorneys will ask that the verdict is in favor of their defendants.
5. Jury Deliberation
Once closing arguments are done, the jury will deliberate on the issues and evidence presented before making a decision. The deliberations will be private, and neither the lawyers nor the judge will be available. It could take several hours, and depending on the complexity of the case, it may take days.
Once the decision is made, the jury notifies the judge, who then reads the verdict in the courtroom.
Auto Accident Injury Cases: What Happens During the Hearing
The auto accident injury case is likely to be a short one and now you know what’s going to happen during the hearing.
What you should remember, however, is that car accident trials are unpredictable and the outcome could be anything given that the decision is up to the jury.
You need to have a professional auto accident lawyer presenting you. Get in touch with us and we’ll guide you through this process step by step.