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Car Accident Trials in Lafayette

While many Lafayette car accident cases can resolve through a settlement, a trial may be necessary if the parties cannot come to an agreement. Many victims are intimidated with the prospect of a trial, but preparation and guidance from a compassionate attorney can make the process easier. Call today to discuss your case.

Scheduling a Car Accident Trial

After the discovery process is complete, including most depositions, an attorney can set the matter for trial. The court issues a scheduling order, which sets the deadline by which important actions must take place in the litigation process. The purpose of these deadlines is to make sure the case runs smoothly and the parties share information with each other. Each side needs access to the information needed to either defend or prosecute the case.

Car accident trials can be either be bench trials or jury trials, depending on the situation. Usually, cases can be heard before juries if the value of the damages exceeds $50,000. This is known as the “jury trial threshold. However, there are some exceptions which allow for bench trials even in cases where the damages exceed this amount.  For example, lawsuits against certain municipalities in Louisiana may be heard before a judge.

Presenting the Victim’s Side of the Story

The plaintiff gives the opening statement because they have the burden of proof at trial. They must prove what caused the damages and who is liable for them. Depending on the circumstances, the plaintiff may also need to prove that insurance coverage exists for the damages.

When presenting a case, it is important for the personal injury attorney to help the judge or jury see things from the victim’s perspective. Plaintiffs may be dealing with tremendous losses, such as the death of a loved one, and it is crucial to show the jury how the incident impacted the victim’s life.

Another important consideration for personal injury attorneys is limiting or eliminating any liability that the victim may have. If the victim is somewhat responsible for the accident, it will limit their total recovery based on a concept known as comparative negligence. Taking proactive steps to protect the victim from liability is necessary for maximizing the value of a case.

How Long Does Litigation Last?

Car accident cases vary in length depending on the facts if the situation. Some cases settle six to nine months after filing suit, while cases that go to trial can take years, depending on the circumstances.

One factor that can influence the length of a case is the amount of discovery that needs to take place. If a plaintiff suffers catastrophic injuries and the extent of those injuries is unknown, the plaintiff will need time to treat with their physicians before resolving litigation. The lawyers also need to conduct discovery with respect to liability, medical treatment and causation, and sometimes even insurance coverage.

There are a lot of moving parts to civil litigation, and many obstacles can tie up a case in court. Judges may make rulings on motions that filed by either party, which could end up being appealed to a higher court. This can delay a trial, since the parties must wait on the appellate court decision. There may be rulings that the judge makes in the interim on  motions that are filed by either party, which could end up being appealed at the appellate level. It is difficult to put an exact time frame on a car accident case, since each case varies based on the facts, circumstances, and litigation tools.

Discuss Your Car Accident with an Experienced Lafayette Attorney

If you were hurt in a motor vehicle collision, you deserve to focus on your health. However, this can be difficult to do when you in pain, bombarded with calls from insurance adjusters, and worrying about your finances. Fortunately, an experienced attorney could help with your case. A Lafayette lawyer could guide you through every step of the car accident litigation process, from settlement negotiations to trial. Call today to schedule a consultation.