Car accidents can cause a great deal of pain and financial hardship for all parties involved. If you were injured in a car crash due to a reckless driver, the negligent motorist should compensate you for all of your damages.

If you do not have much legal experience, it can be difficult to understand the litigation process for an auto wreck claim. A seasoned car accident attorney in your community could advocate on your behalf for compensation and help you understand the legal process. Speak with a local lawyer today to learn more about car accident trials in Charlottesville and improve your chances of achieving a positive outcome in court.

Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, both parties obtain evidence to be used in court. There are five main components of discovery.

Interrogatories

Interrogatories are written questions that are exchanged between both parties. The at-fault driver sends the injured party written questions to answer with their lawyer. There is a limit of 30 written questions.

Requests for Production of Documents

The defense counsel also serves the injured party with requests for production of documents. These documents might include photographs, accident reports, medical records, or tax forms.

Subpoena Ducestecum

After interrogatories and requests for production, the defendant’s attorney usually sends a court order to the plaintiff’s medical provider to turn over all records. This is called a subpoena. The negligent party could also deliver a subpoena to the local police department to provide all records that relate to the automobile accident. These records could include photos or security camera footage.

Depositions

The plaintiff, defendant, and any witnesses in a car accident case can be deposed by an attorney to give a statement while under oath.

Medical Examination

The negligent driver can also ask the injured party to be examined by a doctor of his or her choosing. However, it is more common for an insurance company to hire a doctor to review the records and formulate opinions on the plaintiff’s injuries. A lawyer in the area can provide you with more information about what can be found during the discovery process.

Pretrial Deadlines

It is crucial to meet all deadlines when taking a case to trial. The plaintiff typically has to disclose their expert witnesses 90 days before a trial. The defendant has to disclose their experts 60 days before trial.

Rebuttal expert opinions from the plaintiff must then be submitted 45 days before trial. The discovery period concludes 30 days before the trial. A diligent attorney will meet all pretrial deadlines so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Charlottesville Court Proceedings

Voir Dire

In Circuit Court, the first step in a trial is choosing the jury. There may be 30 to 40 potential jurors who are questioned by each party’s lawyer. The purpose of questioning jurors is to determine whether they have a bias that could impact the outcome of the trial.

The attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant can strike three jury members for any reason. They can also ask the court to strike a biased juror. This continues until seven people are chosen to hear the case.

Opening Statements

The opening statements allow both the plaintiff and the defendant to present a complete picture of the case to the jurors. This gives them a better understanding of the evidence that will be presented throughout the trial.

Evidence

Both parties have the opportunity to call witnesses who are questioned in front of the jury. Attorneys aim to call witnesses whose testimonies will support their side of the case. Parties can also provide other types of evidence for the jury to consider.

Jury Instructions

After all witnesses have been called, the judge reads instructions to the jury. The plaintiff and defendant must agree on what instructions of law that the jury will be given.

Closing Statements

After the jury instructions are read, both parties present a closing argument. The plaintiff’s attorney may give a rebuttal after the defendant’s closing arguments.

Then the jury retires to a room to decide the verdict. An experienced lawyer could support you through every aspect of your car accident trial.

Bench Trials

Most personal injury attorneys believe a case should be tried in front of a jury if it has to go to trial. However, a case that is worth up to $25,000 can be filed in the general district court, where a judge decides the verdict. This is called a bench trial.

Both parties must agree to a bench trial before it can proceed. A skilled lawyer could help you determine whether a bench trial is right in your situation.

Speak with an Attorney About Car Accident Trials in Charlottesville

There are many important steps and deadlines to keep track of in an auto wreck case. Do not make the mistake of attempting to represent yourself in court.

The dedicated attorneys at The Warren Firm can help you fight for your rights. Call our office today to talk to a lawyer about car accident trials in Charlottesville.

Do you even need a lawyer for your car accident case? Get a FREE copy of Vaden Warren’s book today to find out!