If you’ve been in a car accident in Georgia, you may be wondering if you’ll have to sue the at-fault driver or whether you need to hire an Atlanta car accident lawyer to recover your damages. Car accident cases don’t always go to court, but there are situations where it’s the best option. And when this does happen, it’s best to be prepared in knowing what to expect.
What Causes a Car Accident Case to Go to Court?
In many cases, a car accident case does not have to go to court. When you hire a car accident lawyer, they will get to work investigating and gathering evidence to demonstrate your damages. If the other driver’s insurance company and your lawyer can come to a fair settlement, the case can be settled and there is often no need for a trial. However, there are situations where your case may need to go to court.
The following situations could lead a car accident claim to proceed to court:
- The insurance company does not offer you a fair settlement
- Despite your lawyer’s negotiation with the insurance company, they won’t budge on paying out more money for your damages
- Both parties can’t agree on who was at fault for the car accident
Don’t Trust the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, meaning they can want to settle a case by paying out as little money as they can. If they are not willing to pay out what you deserve or they try to place the blame on you, your attorney may advise taking the case to trial.
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What Happens if a Car Accident Case Goes to Court?
During any personal injury case that goes to court, both sides will have a chance to present their evidence. This is the point where a car accident lawyer is especially beneficial. They can prepare your claim for trial by gathering evidence and carefully presenting your case.
Presentation of Evidence
You will need to provide evidence that convinces the jury it is “more likely than not” that the other driver was negligent or caused your injuries in the car accident. This burden of proof is low enough that even if jury members are uncertain about their decision, even being slightly in favor can win you the case.
Types of Evidence You Can Produce at Trial
Different types of evidence your lawyer may present during a car accident trial include:
- Witness interviews
- Expert interviews, such as from a doctor who treated you
- Medical records
- Other evidence demonstrating your injuries
- Accident reports
The defendant (the at-fault driver) and their lawyer are then able to cross-examine you or your witnesses, provide objections to evidence, and present their side. After both sides have presented their cases, the decision goes to the jury.
In some states, the case may be heard and tried by either a judge or a jury. In the State of Georgia, car accidents and other personal injury cases go to trial by jury. Your lawyer will try to feel out the jury for how sympathetic they may be towards your case. A sympathetic jury can lead to a higher award than you would get otherwise.
Injury claims are known as civil cases, meaning they are more focused on helping the accident victim recovery for their losses than finding someone guilty and punishing them. Civil cases are also heard at a different court than criminal cases.
When both sides have presented evidence during the car accident trial, the jury will decide:
- who was at fault for the accident
- and how much money you should be awarded from the insurance company for your damages
If all goes well and your lawyer is able to present a thorough representation of what happened, you will get a sufficient settlement for your damages. Since lawsuits are expensive, most car accident lawyers won’t take a case to trial unless they think it is powerful enough to win you the money you deserve. If you’re unsure about your case, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Lawyer Today for Help Preparing for a Trial in Your Case
At John Foy & Associates, we have been representing car accident victims for more than 20 years, and we know how to win cases. Most of the time, it’s possible to reach a fair settlement with the other driver’s insurance company before the need to go to court. However, if a trial does become the best option, we are prepared to take it on for you.
For a FREE consultation to talk about your case and your best options, call us today at 404-400-4000.