Personal injury lawsuits arising from car accidents involve multiple legal procedures to secure compensation. The duration of this process can range from a few months to several years. However, it is crucial to file your lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations. If you have been involved in a vehicle collision, it is important to understand the stages of litigation and the trial process specific to Sugar Land car accidents.
Given the complexity of car accident litigation, it is strongly advised to work with an experienced lawyer. This enables you to focus on your recovery while your attorney concentrates on securing the compensation you deserve.
In the initial stage of litigation, you file a petition with the court against the party or parties responsible for the accident. While you have the option to file the petition on your own, it is advisable to seek guidance from a local auto wreck attorney. The petition must include specific statements, and failure to file a proper petition can jeopardize the entire process, potentially leading to the dismissal or loss of your case.
During the filing process, you are expected to draft a valid petition that meets the court’s requirements. Additionally, you will need to pay the relevant court fees and formally serve the papers to the Defendant(s).
Upon receiving the plaintiff’s court papers outlining the reasons for the lawsuit, the defendant (through their attorney) provides a response. Based on the court’s procedural rules, the response may involve denying some or all of the allegations.
Discovery is a crucial stage in the car accident litigation process. During this phase, both parties exchange documents and respond to written questions. The documents provided will include relevant evidence such as photographs of the accident scene, medical records, and any party’s knowledge related to the incident. Interrogatories are a set of written questions used by each side to clarify their understanding of the incident, medical treatment, or personal background.
Throughout the pre-litigation phase, your lawyer may have gathered expert opinions and witness accounts of the car crash. However, during depositions, witnesses provide more detailed testimony as they answer questions orally under oath. Individuals such as the investigating officer, doctors, witnesses, and the named parties in the lawsuit may be deposed. The testimony given during depositions will be transcribed by a court reporter for future use during the trial.
Not all auto collision cases progress to trial if the insurance company is able to offer a reasonable settlement to the injured party. Settling your case eliminates the need for a trial, and many plaintiffs view it as a secure option that ensures compensation. Unlike pre-lawsuit negotiations, which typically involve the parties directly, negotiations during this stage are facilitated by a neutral third party known as a mediator. If these negotiations prove unsuccessful, it does not automatically mean that your car accident case will go to trial, but the likelihood increases.
It is possible to resolve your auto wreck case without going to trial. However, if all negotiation attempts fail, proceeding to trial becomes your last recourse. The primary advantage of going to trial is the opportunity to present your case for damages before a jury comprised of your peers.
During the trial, both the defense and plaintiff’s attorneys will present their arguments in the presence of a jury panel, typically consisting of six to twelve individuals. Witnesses will be cross-examined, and evidence will be presented before the jury. Based on the facts presented, the jury will render their final verdict.
The trial process can span days or even weeks, as both parties diligently prepare and present their strongest evidence. If the jury rules in your favor, the Defendant will be obligated to pay the amount determined by the jury, concluding the trial. However, if the jury rules against you, your attorney has the opportunity to file an appeal and challenge the decision.
An appeal is a process wherein a higher court reviews your case. In order for your case to be considered for review, the lower court must have committed a legal error significant enough to justify the appellate court overturning the decision. If the Court of Appeals rules in your favor, it is possible that a new trial will be ordered, requiring you to restart the trial process from the beginning.
The outcome of your trial heavily relies on the ability of your car accident lawyer to effectively present your case. That’s why it is crucial to engage an attorney with a demonstrated history of success to navigate you through the car accident trial process in Sugar Land.
At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, our lawyers possess the necessary legal expertise to advocate for your case. Contact our offices today to arrange a complimentary legal consultation for your car accident.