A car accident lawsuit in Texas can take various paths, but most cases are settled out of course. However, if the parties involved cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial. For many Caldwell, TX and Buffalo, TX people, the idea of going into a courtroom can be unnerving, as the outcome of a trial is difficult to predict. Having a skilled car accident lawyer on your side, however, is always the wisest course. Read on to learn more of what to expect in a trial, and talk to your lawyer for more specifics related to your case.

7 Things to Expect If a Car Accident Lawsuit Goes to Trial

An Initial Paperwork Stage of Filing and Receiving Responses

The very first step in the trial process begins when the plaintiff, potentially you if you’re the injured party, officially files a lawsuit against the defendant. This document, known as the complaint or petition, outlines the specifics of the accident, the reasons for seeking damages, and the type of compensation you believe you’re entitled to.

The defendant, commonly the other driver or their insurance company, then has a limited amount of time in which to respond. Their answer might consist of defenses against your claims, or in some scenarios, a counterclaim might be brought against you. This back and forth is more than just legal posturing; it’s a crucial stage where the foundational elements of the trial are laid out and both parties establish their primary arguments.

A Discovery Period Digging Into the Evidence

With the initial stages concluded, the discovery process begins. This period is marked by a comprehensive exchange of information between the involved parties. By undergoing discovery, both sides can get a clear picture of the evidence and arguments they will be up against during the trial. Discovery can speed up the trial in some cases, as when, for example, evidence is uncovered that is so clear it allows both sides to agree to it (stipulate it) as fact from the beginning. That means no time is wasted arguing about it in court.

Numerous types of evidence will be sought and used in discovery. Documents such as police reports, medical records detailing injuries, photographs from the accident scene, and witness statements all become part of the pool of information both sides will use. Additionally, depositions might be conducted. In depositions, individuals connected to the case are interviewed under oath. This procedure not only provides insights but also prepares each side for potential testimonies that might be presented during the trial.

Your Lawyer Will Make Motions Setting the Ground Rules for the Trial

Before the courtroom sees any action, either party may choose to file various motions. These pre-trial requests made to the court can influence the flow and structure of the upcoming trial. For instance, if one party believes certain evidence is irrelevant or prejudicial, they might file a motion to exclude it. Or, if one side believes that the available evidence is overwhelmingly in their favor, they might make a motion for a summary judgment, which is where you seek a decision without a full-blown trial.

Another common pre-trial motion is the motion to dismiss. Here, one party asserts that even if all the facts presented by the opposing side were to be taken as true, there isn’t a legal basis for the lawsuit, and thus it should be dismissed outright. Your attorney will know how to bring the evidence to bear on your car accident lawsuit in such a way that any motions for dismissal should be denied.

In fact, a good lawyer will always be honest with you and tell if you if it’s not worth bringing a lawsuit because there’s not a good chance for a positive outcome. While no one wants to hear this, of course, this kind of honestly will protect you from wasting your time, money, and emotional energy.

The Trial Will Start by Laying Out Arguments

When the time for the trial finally arrives, both parties will have the opportunity to present their respective arguments in court. The process starts with opening statements, where both the attorneys provide an overview of their respective cases, setting the tone for what the jury or judge can anticipate.

Evidence Will Be Presented and Examined Carefully

As the trial progresses, the evidence becomes the focal point. Each side will present evidence to support their stance, and this could range from tangible items related to the accident to testimonies from expert witnesses or detailed accounts from those who witnessed the accident. This stage is one of the most important, as the jury or judge will rely heavily on the evidence they see and hear to make their final decision.

Witness cross-examination follows the presentation of evidence. Here, attorneys from each side have the chance to question witnesses from the opposing side. The goal is to uncover inconsistencies in their testimonies or to challenge their credibility in testifying on the matter at hand. This segment can be particularly intense, as attorneys use their skills to protect their client’s interests and position.

The Verdict Is Not the End

Once both sides have had their say and all evidence has been presented, the jury or judge will deliberate on the case’s merits. If the case is being heard before a jury, they will discuss the evidence and arguments and then arrive at a verdict. If it’s a bench trial, the judge alone will make this decision.

Should the jury or judge rule in your favor, however, there’s still more to it. The next step involves determining the compensation. The awarded damages can include economic damages, including medical expenses incurred, and also noneconomic damages, like compensation for pain and suffering. The amount granted might differ from the original claim, depending on the evidence and arguments put forth during the trial.

On the other hand, a ruling in favor of the defendant means you might not receive any compensation. This outcome is always possible, even when the evidence seems clear and straightforward: this is one of the inherent risks of bringing a lawsuit to trial and why many personal injury lawsuits settle outside of court. You can expect your attorney to be frank with you about the safest course of action to get you the most compensation.

Even a Favorable Verdict Might Not Be It

The end of the trial does not always signify the end of the legal process. Depending on the outcome and how the parties involved react to the verdict, post-trial motions might be in order. These can range from requests for a new trial due to perceived errors during proceedings to motions seeking a reduction in the awarded damages.

Additionally, if either party feels the trial had significant legal errors, they might opt to file an appeal. An appeal isn’t a retrial but rather a review by a higher court to determine if the legal process was duly followed. During an appeal, the focus shifts from the facts surrounding the car accident to the legal procedures and decisions made during the trial.

Get Help With Your Car Accident Lawsuit in Caldwell, TX and Buffalo, TX 

Brian Gutierrez is here to guide and assist you every step of the way in your lawsuit, and will personally bring his years of experience in personal injury cases, and in the courtroom, to work for you. Contact Brian Gutierrez, Personal Injury Trial Lawyer today to ​get the help you need.