Car Accident Lawsuit Process
When you’re the victim of a car accident, you may have a lot of questions about the claims process. You might know that you need and deserve financial compensation after your car accident. But you might be wary about what the lawsuit process involves.
When you understand the claims process, you can navigate the lawsuit process in a way that helps you get the full compensation that you deserve. Here’s what you need to know about the car accident lawsuit process from our Denver car accident attorneys.
Car Accident Lawsuit Process
The car accident lawsuit process begins when one of the parties files a legal claim. A case typically ends when the parties receive a judgment either by settlement or by trial. In between, the parties have time to prepare for trial and ask the court to rule about the admission of evidence. The car accident lawsuit process is individual to each case, depending on all of the factors involved.
Car Accident Court Process
The car accident court process involves stating a claim and pursuing it until there’s a resolution. The plaintiff files legal documents stating that they deserve compensation. The plaintiff gives the reasons for their demand for compensation. The defendant has the opportunity to file reply documents that state their side of the case. Both parties have time to build evidence for their case. A case resolves when it goes to trial and reaches a verdict. However, in many cases, the parties are able to agree on a settlement, and the case doesn’t go to trial.
Car Accident Lawsuit Going to Trial
A car accident lawsuit going to trial is a formal way to resolve a car accident case. There might be some variation in the court process based on the court that hears the case and the specific facts present in the case. However, in most cases, a car accident lawsuit going to trial follows a number of steps:
Jury trial - Before you can have a jury trial, you need to have a jury. There’s a process for selecting a jury. You have the opportunity to learn about potential jurors. Through a process called voir dire, you can ensure that you have an impartial jury to hear your case.
Opening statements - The trial begins with each side telling the jury their theory of the case. Your lawyers speak directly to the jury about what the evidence is going to show in the case. They have the chance to lay out the facts and what the jury can expect to hear and see in the coming evidence. An opening statement is an important opportunity for you to layout your case theories to the jury. When they know what to expect, they can follow the presentation of evidence to reach the correct conclusions.
Plaintiff’s case - Once both sides make their opening statements, it’s time for the parties to present their case. The plaintiff goes first. Usually, you make your case by calling witnesses. The witnesses answer questions under oath. Witnesses can also substantiate pieces of evidence like photographs and documents. Using the rules of evidence, you can also admit certain pieces of evidence directly without authentication from a witness. When you call witnesses, the defense has the opportunity to question the witnesses, too.
Defendant’s case - After the plaintiff presents their case, it’s time for the defense to present their case. A defendant can rely on the fact that the plaintiff hasn’t proved their case. Alternatively, the defendant can call their own witnesses and present their own evidence. If the parties can’t agree on what evidence to present, the judge makes the ruling. Just like the defendant gets to cross-examine the plaintiff’s witnesses, the plaintiff gets to cross-examine the defendant’s witnesses.
Rebuttal - Once each party presents their case, the plaintiff has the opportunity to rebut what the defense presents. The plaintiff can call more witnesses or admit other pieces of evidence. Then, it’s the defense’s turn to rebut. The parties go back and forth with rebuttal until all the evidence is presented.
Closing arguments - Following the presentation of evidence, each side gets to make a closing argument to the jury. The plaintiff goes first. They summarize what the evidence was and how the law applies to the evidence. They ask the jury to reach the correct verdict. The defense also has the chance to make a closing argument.
Jury instructions - For the jury to decide the case, the jury needs to know what laws apply to the case and what they’re supposed to decide. Jury instructions are a summary of the law written in plain English. The instructions help the jury evaluate the facts and appropriately apply the law. It’s the judge who decides what jury instructions to read. However, both sides have the opportunity to ask the judge for specific instructions.
Jury deliberations - After the judge reads the jury instructions, it’s time for the jury to deliberate. The jury deliberates in private; the court doesn’t monitor their deliberations. The jury can take all the time they need to decide. If they have questions, they can ask the court. They can also review pieces of evidence. Once they reach a verdict, the jury comes back to the court and reads it publicly in open court.
Post-judgment actions - When the case ends, the defendant pays any judgment to the plaintiff. Either party can file an appeal of the jury verdict. A car accident victim may need to take steps to collect their judgment. Once the judgment is satisfied, and appeals are completed, the case ends.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawsuit Attorneys
Are you wondering about the car accident lawsuit process? Most car accident claims don’t go to trial. Typically, the parties are able to reach a resolution by mutual agreement. However, you must carefully and aggressively prepare your case. You have the right to the assistance of an experienced car accident lawsuit attorney.
At Bachus & Schanker, LLC, our car accident lawsuit attorneys have the training, experience, and determination to help you reach the best possible result in your car accident lawsuit. We can help you navigate the claims process and make the best possible choices at each step. Call us today for a free consultation about your claim.
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