When you’re involved in a car accident, injury is a common outcome. If someone else was at fault, you may seek compensation in the form of a personal injury claim. Most of these cases settle out of court; however, you may need to take further action if the insurance companies involved are unable to reach a settlement.
In other cases, the insurance company may deny that their driver is at fault and legally responsible for your injuries. Regardless of the reason, going to trial may be the only way to achieve a fair resolution of your case.
Filing the Lawsuit
To obtain compensation for injuries caused by a car accident, you (the plaintiff) or your attorney must file a complaint in court. This filing is an official document that formally states your allegations against the driver (the defendant) and fully explains the damages you have suffered as a result of the accident. The complaint must be written correctly and filed properly with the court, as it will directly impact the outcome of your lawsuit.
The other driver and his or her insurance company then responds to the complaint, either by denying your allegations or by submitting counterclaims that argue the fault of your injuries. At this point, a judge may order mediation between the two parties involved in the case. If mediation is not ordered, or if it is unsuccessful, the judge will set a date for trial.
Once a trial date has been set, your case will move into the discovery process. During this pre-trial stage, both parties investigate the facts by examining physical evidence, talking to witnesses and analyzing documents and records. Attorneys may also arrange deposition proceedings, where lawyers on both sides of the suit ask questions of sworn-in witnesses on the record. Both parties are required by law to share any information relevant to the lawsuit during the discovery process. From there, the case proceeds to the trial phase.
Trial and Verdict
Your case will either be heard at a bench trial or a jury trial. At a bench trial, the judge alone will decide your case, without the presence of a jury. In a jury trial, the judge will preside over the proceedings, but the jury will come to an agreement on the verdict. During either type of trial, attorneys from both sides will present evidence. As the party bringing the lawsuit, you have the legal burden of proving the merits of your case. The judge or jury will determine if the defendant is legally responsible for your injuries, and if so, how much compensation you will receive.
Going to trial is a complicated process, requiring a thorough understanding of governing laws as well as court rules and procedures. If you are considering filing a lawsuit for your auto accident injury case, it’s important to have an experienced litigator in your corner. In Boise, Idaho, the professional attorneys at Montgomery Dowdle offer an impressive record of victory in the courtroom. Contact them today to discuss your car accident, injury and the potential for a legal claim.