After a car accident, all parties involved will provide statements to the insurance companies. The insurance companies must come to an agreement on fault. Then, they must come to an agreement on damages and deserved compensation for those damages. When the insurance companies can't come to an agreement that suits all parties, they have the option to take the case to trial.
95% of personal injury cases, including car accident personal injury cases, come to a settlement to avoid ballooning legal expenses, but the other 5% go to trial. Learn more about taking a car accident case to trial.
Jury Trial Vs. Bench Trial
Litigants have the option to choose between a jury trial or a bench trial.
Jury trials allow a jury of peers to determine justice. The jury will hear evidence from both sides and then come to a unanimous agreement on the final ruling. It will take time to select the jury, but there's less chance of bias since a whole group of people must come to a decision together.
In a bench trial, a solitary judge rules on the case. While quicker, less expensive, and less formal, bench trials rely on one person's perception instead of the consensus of a large group.
Car Accident Trial Process
The plaintiff starts the process when they file a complaint against the defendant with the help of a vehicle accident attorney, who has reviewed the case to determine its merit. The plaintiff must provide proof of fault and damages according to "preponderance of the evidence". Evidence can include testimony from the plaintiff, witness testimony, medical records, healthcare receipts, repair quotes, photos, video, and communications with the defendant. The defendant's lawyer will have a chance to counter the case against them and provide their own evidence. The plaintiff and defendant will then have a chance to present their closing arguments before the jury (or judge) comes to a decision.
Should You Take Your Case to Trial?
There are several instances where someone may want to take a second party to court after a car accident:
- Fault disagreements
- Insulting settlement offers
- Expensive settlement amounts
Trials cover the civil aspects of a car accident. Criminal charges will play out in criminal court.
You and your lawyer will attempt to come to an agreement with all other parties involved in the accident. When one litigant or insurance company won't agree to what's fair, ask about your chances if you take it to court. For more information, contact a company like Sapp Law Firm.