A majority of car accident insurance claims resolve before filing a lawsuit. In fact, most claims resolve before a trial takes place. Regardless of whether your car accident case goes to trial, car accident lawsuit can often take months or even years to resolve.
However, not all car accident lawsuits can settle outside of court. This is often due to conflicting accounts or disagreement of the amount of compensation. In these cases, you may have to go to trial.
That’s where we come in. Uplift Legal Funding provides car accident cash advances to plaintiffs nationwide, and can help bridge the gap between injury and financial recovery.
Car Accident Jury Selection
In most states, a jury (and not a judge) is responsible for deciding the key issues surrounding a car accident case. The jury typically consists of twelve persons or fewer.
Jury selection, or voir dire, is the first stage of trial. Potential jurors answer a series of questions so that the lawyers and the judge can learn more about them. This way, the judge and lawyers identify any biases or prejudices that might keep the juror from being fair and impartial.
The parties then make their opening statements. The plaintiff’s attorney typically goes first, since the plaintiff needs to prove all of the allegations in the case. Opening statements offer the opportunity for each party’s attorney to provide background for the jury and to present their side of the case – in other words, what they will prove or refute. These opening statements usually last about fifteen to twenty minutes.
The Plaintiff’s Presentation of Evidence
After the opening statements, the plaintiff’s attorney presents the plaintiff’s side of the case. The plaintiff’s side goes first when presenting the evidence because, like with opening statements, the plaintiff has the “burden of proof.” The attorney presents evidence for the case by calling witnesses to the stand.
Witnesses can include the plaintiff as well as other car accident witnesses and bystanders. For example, if the attorney needs to establish how the car accident occurred, they would probably call the plaintiff to testify about his or her observations just before and during the crash. Others witnesses can provide valuable evidence as to what happened.
Calling witnesses to the stand also proves valuable in other aspects of the case, such as injuries. For example, they plaintiff’s attorney could ask the plaintiff specifics questions relating to his or her injury, or call the plaintiff’s doctor as a witness. The doctor could answer questions regarding the necessary medical treatment following the car accident, as well as the plaintiff’s prognosis for a full recovery.
The Defendant’s Presentation of Evidence
After the plaintiff’s attorney presents to the jury all of the witnesses they believe necessary to prove their side of the case, the plaintiff then “rests” the case. By doing so, they indicate that it is now the defendant’s turn to present evidence.
Like the plaintiff’s attorney, the defendant’s attorney presents evidence in the form of witnesses to testify to the jury on the issues raised by the case. The testimony of these witnesses called by the defendant’s attorney typically supports their claims and defenses. For example, the defendant’s attorney might call a witness who offers a contradictory account of the car accident. In terms of injury, the defendant might call another of the plaintiff’s treating doctors who differs in opinion.
After the presentation of evidence, each attorney proceeds to give a closing argument. The closing argument addresses the presented evidence and offers a final opportunity for each attorney to make their case.
After the closing arguments, the jury proceeds to a separate room to deliberate until a verdict is reached. In all states, jury deliberations are confidential and held in private. Neither the parties nor the judge observe the deliberations. While there is no time limit for deliberation, most juries reach a verdict in a car accident case within several hours. In rarer cases, jury deliberations can last for days.
The Jury Reaches a Verdict
After the jury reaches a verdict, it notifies the judge. The judge then brings the jury back into the courtroom and the verdict is read to the parties. The verdict is also made a part of the official record of the court.
Once at trial, car accident lawsuits typically last a few days. However, this can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the state’s local court procedures.
After receiving a verdict in your favor, it is time to collect your money.
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