Legal Guide

Will My Car Accident Case Go to Trial?

If you are involved in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may pursue a personal injury claim. Your claim may even include filing a lawsuit. But will it go to trial? The answer is probably not. A majority of auto accident cases do not end up in a trial. When you hire a car accident attorney to represent you, they will work to resolve your claim efficiently and help you recover the maximum compensation possible.

Most Car Accident Cases Settle

It may surprise you to learn that most cases settle rather than going to trial. Even if your case does enter into litigation, it’s not a guarantee that you will have a trial. Court trials can be expensive, and they are very time-consuming. It could be years before you have your day in court. That is why your attorney will try to resolve the case earlier in the process whenever possible. The idea is to promptly receive compensation to help you pay your medical expenses and cover your time off work.

If you have to file a lawsuit, your attorney will continue to try to resolve your case during litigation. The courts may require you to try mediation or arbitration before even setting a trial date. Once that date is set, it’s not uncommon for it to be rescheduled and postponed multiple times. Cases can also settle on the eve of the trial, so you may still never testify or have a jury award.

Reasons Your Case Could Go to Trial

There are several reasons that car accident cases end up in a trial. One of these is disputed liability. If the other party’s insurance company has denied your claim and refuses to reconsider their position, you may need a trial to resolve it. Insurance companies sometimes make lowball offers. If the other driver’s insurance company isn’t willing to negotiate with your attorney, there may be no other option except a trial.

What to Expect If You Go to Court

If your case does go to trial, it starts with opening arguments. That is where each attorney begins the process by telling the jury why their side is right. Opening statements are not testimony or evidence. It’s just a way for each side to set the stage for their case and tell the jury what it can expect to hear.

From there, your attorney will start presenting your case. This portion may include testimony from witnesses at the scene, you, and various industry experts. Suppose the defendant is asserting their driver was not at fault. In that case, your attorney may have retained an accident reconstruction expert who will present evidence that the accident occurred the way you said it did.

Once your side rests, the defense will have the opportunity to present their case. Their goal is to refute your evidence and prove that they don’t owe anything. 

The case will conclude with closing arguments. Closing arguments are like opening arguments, but a recap of the evidence and why each side should win.

The jury will then retire to the deliberation room to reach a verdict. Some jury deliberations can last only a few hours while others may take days. Once the jury reaches a decision, the judge will share the results. If you win, it means the defendant has to pay the ordered compensation. 

In order to win your car accident case if it goes to trial, you will want experienced trial lawyers by your side. Before hiring a trial lawyer, you will want to research attorneys in your area to see if they have trial experience. If an attorney does not have trial experience, they may not be the best hire for you.

What If Another Driver Does Not Have Insurance?

If a driver doesn’t have insurance, you may be able to file a claim through your own insurance. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on your own policy, it will apply. You would present the claim to your carrier, and they would step into the position of the at-fault driver’s carrier. That means they could deny your claim or offer you less than you feel it’s worth.

Reporting an Accident

Once you report your claim, consider hiring a car accident lawyer to represent you. When you have an attorney representing you, you have someone on your side who will be protecting your interests. Your attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve, even if that means taking your case all the way to trial.

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