car_accident_trial

Heuser & Heuser: What Happens If Your Car Accident Goes To Trial?

A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye; it’ll be over and done with before you have a conscious thought. You might not immediately realize exactly what happened. In the midst of your post-car accident haze, you might be wondering what happens if your car accident case goes to trial; read here to learn more.

The Aftershock

In the immediate aftermath of the accident it is important to remember that anything you say now, will be very hard to recant later. You are likely disoriented and confused, and may not know exactly what happened. You are much better off saying nothing initially. Apologizing is a knee-jerk reaction for most people, but it can be interpreted as admitting fault. If you haven’t already, now is the time to consult a personal injury attorney.

Determining Fault

Your personal injury attorney will help you evaluate your recollection, review the evidence, and help you make a determination if you have been a victim. If you decide that you are indeed the wronged-party, you may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit to ensure you are rightfully recompensed. Many cases are settled without going to court, but not always. If you decide to continue pursuing the case, it could end up in court.

The Trial

Personal injury trial rules and regulations are not uniform across all states, but there are many similarities that can be discussed here.

Your case will go to court, where it is typically decided by a jury (up to 12 local area residents) instead of by the judge. Because the role of the jury is so important in these cases, the very first step of the trial is selecting the jury. A pool of people will be gathered and they will all answer questions to narrow down the 12. The questions will help the judge and both attorneys determine if the potential jurors have any biases that would keep them from being impartial.

Once the jury is selected, the trial can begin. There are two sides in the trial, the plaintiff, and the defendant. You are the wronged party, the one bringing the suit, the plaintiff. The at-fault driver, or their insurance company, will be the defendant. The plaintiff will set the stage for the jury during opening remarks. This is where your attorney will tell the jury what you believed happened. The defense will have a chance to rebut this version of events during their opening remarks.

After opening remarks, your attorney will delve in and present your case. Your attorney speaks first, because you, as the plaintiff, have the burden of proof: you have to prove what happened. Your attorney will call witnesses: you, any bystanders, the police, medical professionals, or other experts to testify to your version of the events.

Next the defense will have the same opportunity. They can call the same witnesses or others, to try and prove their side of the argument, why they are not at fault. The following portion, and the last part of the courtroom portion of the trial, will be closing remarks. Each attorney will summarize their case and why the jury should side with them.

Deliberations

Once the trial is over, the last remaining thing is for the jury to decide who they believe. The jury will adjourn to a deliberation room and discuss the case. They will go over the evidence presented, and determine if there’s enough evidence to prove the fault of the defendant. The deliberations are completely confidential—no one, not the judge or attorneys, can be present during deliberations. An answer is typically decided within a few hours, but there is no maximum time limit.

Once the decision is reached, the jury foreman will notify the judge. The judge will call everyone back to the courtroom to hear the decision. The jury’s decision will become a part of the permanent public record.

Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s important to note that not all injury cases go to trial. More often than not, they are settled out of court. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer can determine whether or not going to trial is appropriate for your case. It’s crucial to hire an attorney who will have your best interests in mind. When you hire Heuser & Heuser you can be assured that our lawyers will do what it takes to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Call Heuser & Heuser today for a free consultation.