Most of the time, car accident cases will successfully settle without having to go to trial. However, there are certain circumstances that may take your case all the way to the courtroom. For instance, if there is a significant disagreement on the facts of the case or a dispute over who is truly at fault, a trial may become necessary.
Usually, this occurs when the insurance company keeps denying your claim, or you can’t reach an agreeable settlement with the at-fault driver. Additionally, if your case is complicated or the other driver is uninsured, you may be in for a courtroom battle. Also, if there are serious injuries involved that demand large compensation amounts, the insurance company may be more inclined to litigate than to settle.
With an experienced car accident attorney, it will all go more smoothly. They will fight to secure maximum compensation on your behalf. Still, the idea of going to trial is nerve-wracking for car accident victims who have already suffered enough. This is why a solid preparation, and understanding of the process, can make the journey less daunting.
Here’s a quick guide of what you can expect during your car accident trial to help put your mind at ease.
In every trial, jury selection comes first. Both sides have the opportunity to whittle down the pool of potential jurors if they feel they won’t be able to be impartial in their service. After the jury has been selected, they will be sworn in, and the trial will start.
This process, also known as voir dire, allows the attorneys from both sides to ask potential jurors questions about their backgrounds and beliefs to ensure they can be fair and unbiased.
Next, your attorney and the defendant’s attorney will each provide an opening statement. This will give the jury a quick overview of the case. These statements are not considered evidence, but rather, they outline the facts each side intends to prove during the trial. The plaintiff’s attorney goes first, followed by the defense.
Evidence and Witnesses
Following the opening statements, each side gets to present evidence and witnesses to the court. As the plaintiff, you will go first. Your attorney will show all the evidence and then call up any witnesses to testify. The goal here is to prove that the defendant was at fault in the accident and that your injuries resulted from their negligent actions. This evidence could include medical reports, accident reconstruction reports, or photographs of the accident scene.
In turn, the defendant will have an opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses to the stand. Their goal is the opposite – to prove they were not at fault for this accident or your injuries. It’s common for the defendant to dispute the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries or to argue that the plaintiff’s own negligence contributed to the accident.
Once both sides have presented evidence and witness testimony, they will each give a closing argument. Your lawyer will summarize their case and challenge any points made by the defendant’s attorney. The defense will also present their closing argument, summarizing their defenses and attempting to cast doubt on your claims.
The jury will then deliberate the case amongst themselves in a private room. They will need to decide if they believe you have proven your case against the defendant. They will discuss the evidence, review the legal instructions given by the judge, and try to reach a unanimous decision.
It’s important to note that the jury may be quick about deciding on the verdict, or it may take them more time. If they side with you as the plaintiff, they will award you damages. However, if they agree with the defendant, you will not receive damages, and your case will be dismissed. In some cases, if the jury cannot agree on a verdict, a mistrial may be declared, and a new trial may be scheduled.
The Most Important Aspect of a Car Accident Trial
Even though most car accident cases will settle, having a lawyer ensures you have someone to stand up for you in court and fight for your fair compensation. With a St. Louis car accident lawyer, you won’t have to worry about gathering evidence, tracking down witnesses, or filing paperwork.
You can simply focus on healing and know that you’ll have a better chance of success with legal representation. Moreover, they will provide invaluable guidance throughout the trial process, helping you understand your rights and the best strategies for your case.
In the aftermath of a car accident, the journey toward recovery—both physically and financially—can be challenging. If you find yourself in the midst of a legal battle, the importance of understanding the car accident trial process cannot be overstated. Each step, from jury selection to the final verdict, carries its own nuances and demands keen attention.
Luckily, you needn’t navigate this path alone. With the support of an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer, the complexities of the legal process can be managed more effectively. They are there to represent your interests, helping you secure the maximum compensation possible while allowing you to focus on what truly matters—your health and well-being.
Although true that most car accident cases never make it to trial, those that do require a seasoned attorney who can persuasively argue your case in front of a jury. They will gather the necessary evidence, secure credible witnesses, and passionately advocate on your behalf. Even the most intimidating courtroom battle is winnable.
A trial is not the end, but a stepping-stone towards achieving the justice and compensation you deserve. No matter how complex your case may seem, with the right legal representation, you can confidently approach your car accident trial in St. Louis, ready to fight for the outcome you deserve. Justice is achievable—let a skilled attorney show you the way.