A car accident can leave you in pain, anxious, and unsure of what to do next. You may wonder if you have to go to court for a car accident or if you need a lawyer. Depending on the severity of your injuries, negotiations with insurers, you may or may not need to go to trial. You are never required to have a lawyer, but some victims hire legal representation so they can focus on their recovery.
The majority of car accident insurance claims are generally resolved before a lawsuit is filed, but not all car accident cases can be settled outside of court. Maybe both parties cannot agree on who is liable for the crash. They may agree the victim was injured but cannot agree on the amount of compensation the victim should receive for their injuries and losses. If your car accident case does go to trial, there are a few things to expect.
What To Expect if My Car Accident Case Goes to Court
The American Bar Association(ABA) notes that negligence is not intentional, but it still makes a person liable for the injuries they cause. The first step in seeking reparations usually comes in the form of an insurance claim.
If negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company fail to reach a fair settlement, your case may go to court. Here is some of what you can expect:
Every state has its own set of rules governing trials. A jury usually decides the key issues in a car accident case as opposed to a judge. The jury is generally made up of twelve people, but the number can be lower.
Following jury selection and opening statements, the plaintiff’s side will present their case first. This is because the plaintiff has the “burden of proof.” Your attorney can present evidence in your case, including calling witnesses to the stand. These witnesses will testify as to what caused the crash from what they observed.
A doctor may be called to testify about the injuries you received as a result of the accident. This is why it is so important to seek medical care following the accident and document all of your medical bills and expenses.
After your lawyer presents your case to the jury, the defense gets its turn. The defense will most likely present witnesses to contradict the testimony the plaintiff’s side presented to the jury.
Proving Negligence in Your Car Accident Case
When you file a personal injury claim, you must prove negligence in order to win a court award or a settlement from the insurance company. Here is a closer look at the four key elements of a negligence claim:
Duty of Care
The other driver must have a duty to operate a motor vehicle with a certain level of due care regarding other motorists and passengers on the road.
Breach of Duty
The other drive breached that duty by doing or not doing something that put another person in harm’s way. For example, the driver exceeded the posted speed limit or ran a red light at an intersection.
That driver’s breach of duty caused your injuries, which establishes that driver’s legal responsibility for your injuries and losses.
In legal terms, “damages” refers to your injuries and losses as a result of the accident. These can be for physical and psychological wounds, lost wages as a result of missing time from work or no longer being able to perform your duties, and property damage.
Your attorney can help determine a monetary value for your economic and noneconomic damages, which may include emotional distress, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of activities.
Do Not Miss Your Opportunity To Seek Compensation
If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused your accident do not delay. Every state has its own statute of limitations or time frame for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, the laws vary from state to state, but the clock generally starts ticking from the day the accident occurred.
You have the option to check with a personal injury lawyer to ensure all paperwork is filed within the deadline so you do not miss your opportunity to pursue the compensation.
How a Car Accident Lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Help
Whether it is negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company or taking your case to trial, a car accident lawyer can help. Your attorney can investigate the details of your car accident, gather evidence and eyewitness testimony, and build a strong case on your behalf.
You can call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at 800-959-1444 regardless of whether you have to go to court for a car accident. We can handle your case from the start, beginning with an insurance claim. The initial consultation is free, and we do not shy away from the tough cases.