Personal injury lawsuits involving car accidents involve several steps of legal procedures to receive compensation. The time frame for this may be anywhere between a few months to years. However, the filing of your lawsuit must be within the statute of limitations of two years. If you have been involved in a vehicle collision, it is prudent that you understand the stages of litigation and the Sugar Land car accident trial process.
As car accident litigation is a complex process, it is always in your best interest to work with a seasoned lawyer. This way, you can focus on regaining your health while your attorney focuses on getting you the compensation you deserve.
In the first stage of litigation, you file a petition with the court against the party or parties at fault. While you can file the petition on your own, it is advisable to consult with a local auto wreck attorney. The petition is required to include particular statements, and failure to file a proper petition can ruin the whole process, leading to a lost compensation or overall dismissal of your case.
When filing the lawsuit, you will be expected to write a valid petition to the court that includes the necessary requirements. As you file, you are expected to pay the applicable court fees and formally serve the papers to the Defendant(s).
After being served with court papers from the plaintiff showing the reasons for the lawsuit, the defendant (through a lawyer on his/her own) answers back. Based on the court’s procedural rules, the response may include denial of some or all of the allegations.
Discovery is the meat of the litigation process for a car accident. Both parties will exchange documents and answer written questions. The documents will pertain to any related evidence, including photos of the accident scene, medical records, and the knowledge of the party. Interrogatories are a series of written questions used by each side to formally state their understanding of the incident, related medical treatment, or their background.
During the pre-litigation phase, your lawyer may have collected expert opinions and witness accounts of the car crash. But during depositions, the testimony will be more detailed, as the witnesses orally answer questions under oath. The investigating officer, doctors, witnesses, and the named parties to the lawsuit are some of the people who may be deposed. The testimony will be transcribed by a court reporter for future use at trial.
Not all auto collision cases proceed to trial when the insurance company can offer a reasonable settlement to the injured party. Settling your case eliminates the need for a trial, and many Plaintiffs consider it to be a safe route with guaranteed money. Unlike most of the negotiations that happen before filing a formal lawsuit, negotiations here are conducted by a neutral party, known as a mediator. If these negotiations fail, your car accident case will not necessarily go to trial, but it comes more likely.
You can resolve your auto wreck case without going to trial. However, if all negotiations fail, going to trial is your final option. The biggest advantage of going to trial is that you get to present your case for damages to a jury of your peers.
During the trial, both the defense and plaintiff’s attorneys will argue their case in the presence of a jury panel, often between six and twelve people. Witnesses will be cross-examined and evidence is presented before the jury. Based on the facts presented, the jury will make their final verdict.
The trial may take days or weeks, as both parties prepare and present their best evidence. If the jury finds in your favor, the Defendant will be ordered to pay the amount determined by the jury. This marks the end of the trial process. However, if the jury rules against you, your attorney has the opportunity to appeal and challenge the decision.
An appeal is a review of your case by a higher court. For your case to be reviewed, the former court must have made a legal error that warrants the appellate court to overturn the decision. If the Court of Appeal rules in your favor, you will likely have to redo the trial from the beginning.
The success of your trial is highly dependent on how your collision lawyer articulates your case. For this reason, you should always hire an attorney with a proven track record to guide you through the Sugar Land car accident trial process.
Our lawyers at Lone Star Injury Attorneys have the legal expertise to pursue your case. Call our offices today to schedule a free legal consultation for your car accident.