When you’ve filed a claim after being injured in a car accident, typically your attorney will work with the insurance company to reach an appropriate settlement amount before you have to file an actual lawsuit. Even if you do have to file a lawsuit, though, most insurance companies will generally work to resolve your case before going to trial.
In the event negotiations fall through and a settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to court to be tried in front of a judge and jury. If this happens, it’s important for you to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side who knows how to handle cases like yours. Not only that, but not everyone is familiar with court proceedings, so we’ve put together this guide with what you can expect if your personal injury case goes to trial in Chattanooga.
How is the Jury Selected?
Most states will require that a jury be selected before the actual trial commences. This is in lieu of a ruling judge, though a judge will still preside over the trial. Lawyers for both the plaintiff (you) and the defendant (the insurance company) will interview the possible jury members until both can agree on an unbiased and impartial set. Opening statements will follow the selection of the jury.
During the opening statements of a trial, each side will present their argument as to why they believe they are in the right. The insurance company might claim that you don’t deserve compensation because the accident is partly your fault. Then, your attorney might argue that those allegations are baseless and explain that they have evidence to back up this claim. The purpose of these opening statements is to outline exactly how each party plans to present its case to the jury.
Presenting the Case
Typically, your attorney will present your case to the jury after the opening statements. They will share your proof of why you believe you were not at fault. Then, your attorney will work to ensure your claim is both truthful and solid, giving you the best chance to win. While presenting your case, it’s helpful to bring witness testimonies from bystanders, statements from medical professionals, and more. The goal of this argument is to show without a reasonable doubt you should win your claim. After presenting your side, the defendant will then have the opportunity to share their argument.
Closing Arguments & Deliberation
After both parties have presented their case to the jury at the end of the trial, they will have the opportunity to then present closing arguments. Unlike opening statements, closing arguments focus less on presenting the case and more on analyzing the evidence presented to the jury. The closing arguments are each party’s last chance to persuade the jury’s decision, one way or the other.
The jury will go to a private room to deliberate the case following these closing arguments. These deliberations are strictly confidential, and there is no set time limit. Eventually, the jury will decide on a verdict and communicate this with the judge, who calls the jury back into the courtroom and has them read the verdict to both parties.
The McMahan Law Firm is Here to Help After a Car Accident
It’s more than likely that your car accident case will be resolved before going to trial, but in the event you do have to go to court, it’s helpful to know what you can expect. It always helps to have professional legal counsel by your side so if you have been hurt in an accident, Jay and Brent are here to help. Our team at the McMahan Law Firm has years of experience fighting for injured individuals in Chattanooga, and they’ll fight for you, too. Just give us a call or fill out our online form to get started on your free case review today!