What Happens When a Car Accident Case Goes to Trial?

Holding someone responsible for your car accident in Arizona is important. If you were not at fault for the accident, you should not have to pay for your medical bills and property repairs out of pocket. Arizona’s civil justice system allows you to hold a negligent party liable for your damages. Most car accident cases are insurance claims that settle without ever having to go to trial. In some situations, however, a car accident trial is required for fair financial compensation.

When Do Car Accident Cases Go To Trial?

It is more common for a car accident case involving serious injuries to go to trial than a minor crash. A severe accident often requires a trial to hold all at-fault parties liable for a fair amount of damages. Even so, about 95% of car accident cases do not go to trial. The vast majority of the time, a plaintiff’s attorney and an insurance company can work out a car accident settlement.

A car accident case may go to trial in Arizona if the parties involved cannot come to a settlement agreement. If the insurance company of the at-fault driver is refusing to offer a fair settlement, for example, or has denied the insurance claim, the injured victim may need to take the case to court instead. Going to court will force the insurance company to handle the claim fairly, as a judge may order the insurer to pay a judgment award.

What to Expect During the Trial

If your car accident case has to go to trial in Arizona, learn what to expect from the legal process. The court process can be confusing and overwhelming for a first-time plaintiff. Hiring a Glendale car accident attorney can make things easier. Your legal representative can explain things to you and walk you through the process for better odds of success. The typical car accident trial in Arizona has five main components.

  1. Jury selection. First, a judge will set a trial date. A random selection process will bring in prospective jurors. Both sides of the case may ask the jurors questions and eliminate options until they have agreed on 12. Then, the trial will commence.
  2. Opening statements. The first part of a car accident trial is the opening statements, where both sides will summarize what they plan on proving during the case. The plaintiff and the defendant will list their claims against the opposing party.
  3. Presentation of evidence and witnesses. Next, both sides will present evidence and bring in witnesses to support a certain side of the case. Both sides can cross-examine each other’s witnesses.
  4. Closing arguments and jury deliberation. Once both sides have presented all their evidence, they will each give closing arguments. Then, the jury will deliberate as to whether or not the plaintiff fulfilled his or her burden of proof.
  5. Finally, the jury will submit a verdict. If the jury found that the plaintiff did fulfill the burden of proof, it can enter an amount the defendant will have to pay the plaintiff for negligence or fault.

If you hire a lawyer, he or she can stand by your side through every phase of the civil trial process. Your lawyer can teach you what to say, what to do and even what to wear during a car accident trial in Arizona. Your attorney can take over the trial to optimize your odds of success.

What Evidence Will Be Presented?

Evidence is a major part of a car accident trial. The burden of proof during a civil claim is enough evidence to prove the defendant is more likely than not guilty of causing the car accident. Evidence can come in many forms during a car accident case.

  • Police car accident reports
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Medical records
  • Medical experts
  • Crash reconstructionists
  • Photographs
  • Video footage
  • Diagrams

An accident attorney can gather evidence to support your side of the case for you. Then, your lawyer can use special tools and legal resources to present the evidence to a jury in a convincing way. In most cases, hiring a lawyer enables you to avoid the trial process altogether by reaching a successful settlement.