Most accident claims are settled out of court through a mediation process. In such a case, the lawyer of the defendant and the lawyer of the complainant meet and agree on a settlement. At times, the two parties may not agree for one reason or another, and this leaves the complainant with only one choice: to go to court. There are also other reasons that can lead the petitioner to court. For example, a fatal accident such as a car crash or a chemical burn that leads to the physical incapacitation of the complainant or death is best settled in court. Before taking your accident claim to court, you’ll need a great personal injury lawyer.
Hiring an Injury attorney
Even though it’s possible to file an injury claim in court on your own, you stand to gain much more if you have an attorney to petition your case and defend you. The attorney knows how much you deserve as compensation. You have to remember that the offender is likely to come in court with legal representation, so you have to match them. The attorney will help you file a concrete claim.
Filing an Accident Claim
Before the case is taken to trial, you have to file it. This involves three phases:
- Statement of complaint: In this phase, your attorney is expected to formally file a complaint form. The document describes the accident suffered and identifies the parties directly and indirectly involved.
- Serving the defendant: The other parties have to be legally notified of the pending case. Therefore, you are required by law to serve them with the complaint copy. Then, they’ll have a specific period to answer it.
- Discovery phase: At this point, you are required to request specific information from the defendant pertaining to the case. Your lawyer may obtain the information through a written interrogation or verbal questioning.
At the Trial
As you go to court with an attorney, you should expect the court to determine after the hearing if the defendant is responsible for the accident or not. To convince the court to rule in your favor, you have to provide all the necessary evidence and witnesses. You should also expect the other party to mount a strong defense. A typical court trial involves the following basic phases:
- Appointment of the jury: The jury often features 12 legal experts who are expected to hear the case. However, the judge is required to determine that the members are not biased and thus do not compromise the verdict.
- Opening statements: This is an opportunity for both parties to deliver their facts pertaining to the case. The statements are a summary of your arguments and standpoints.
- Cross-examination: In this stage, both parties provide their evidence and witnesses. The attorneys are expected to question the witnesses as the jury takes note of the proceedings.
- Closing arguments: After arguing, you are expected to submit your closing remarks indicating why the jury should rule in your favor. The same goes for the defendant.
- The verdict: The judge will instruct the jury to take some time and deliberate on the verdict. They’ll be expected to consider the evidence brought forward and the arguments of both parties. There is no time limit for the deliberation of the verdict as it may take hours or even days.
Generally, taking your accident claim to court is the ideal thing after suffering a life-threatening accident. However, you need to build a strong case through competent legal representation to get compensated. The law is always on your side, provided you know how to use it, and you go to court with an accident attorney.