The majority of all car accident insurance claims are resolved before a lawsuit is filed. In the event that a lawsuit is filed, the majority of those cases are resolved by settlement agreement before a trial takes place.
In some instances, though, the parties can’t come to an agreement in order to settle. Perhaps there is disagreement about who caused the accident, or maybe there is agreement that the plaintiff was injured, but they are unable to agree on the amount of compensation to be paid. In these instances, the case would likely go to trial.
If you are one of the few that ends up in a car accident lawsuit that goes to trial, then you are probably concerned about what happens next or wondering what to expect.
Like in many other legal actions, a car accident lawsuit will consist of a plaintiff who has filed a legal claim and a defendant who is opposing the claim. In some instances, a defendant may have their own counterclaims against the plaintiff.
Both the attorneys of the plaintiff and the defendant will have the opportunity to make an opening statement at the beginning of the trial. The plaintiff will present their opening statement first and lay out the accusations against the defendant. The burden of proof is on the party making the allegations, so the defendant may not make an opening statement although, in most instances, it is an opportune time to dispute the narrative presented by the plaintiff or to present the defendant’s version of the events.
After opening statements, the plaintiff presents their evidence from the car wreck, which may include witnesses, police reports, medical records, photographs or diagrams, expert testimony, and other supporting evidence. The defense has the opportunity to contest the admission of evidence and to cross-examine a witness to undermine their testimony. The defense then has the opportunity to present their own evidence and witnesses, and the plaintiff has the same opportunities to object or cross-examine.
Both parties will then have the chance to provide a closing argument before the judge, or in some cases, jury, who will then come to a decision regarding the outcome of the trial.
As you can see, going to trial is an involved process which requires a great deal of effort to prepare for and often consumes a great deal of time, energy, and financial resources from both parties, which is why so many cases settle out of court. Some people associate the word “settle” with giving up or accepting less than they deserve, but in a civil case, a settlement means that instead of having to prove your case to a judge or jury, the other side accepts responsibility and agrees to pay the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it is important that you find a lawyer who is well-versed in car accident cases and who has not only extensive experience negotiating successful settlement outcomes, but who isn’t afraid to take a case to trial if need be.
The team at Fears Nachawati has represented thousands of clients involved in car wrecks all across the state of Texas and will go to bat for you. Schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our team by calling us at (866) 705-7584, or by visiting the offices of Fears Nachawati located across the state, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.