What Happens Before The Court Hearing?
Car accidents commonly lead to the courtroom most especially if there are several parties involved. Contrary to popular belief, these cases don’t immediately head to the courtroom. As with most lawsuits, there are certain processes that personal injury lawyers take to ensure the well-being of their clients.
If you’ve been in a car accident recently, you might be confused as to what happens next. Considering you’ve already found yourself a personal injury lawyer, you may want to understand the next steps that will be taken before you file a lawsuit. Understanding this step-by-step procedure is crucial if you are hoping to get the settlement you deserve.
This is the first step in the process and there are various things to consider. For starters, depending on what the statute of limitations are in your area, your lawyer will officially file a complaint or petition with the local court. The good thing is that the statute of limitations are very generous. In fact, some nations requires you to file within two years after the date of the accident, thus giving you time to recover.
You can use the statute of limitations to your advantage. Aside from recovering from the injuries, you can also use this time to secure the proper documents you need such as your medical certificates and records.
During this process, you will become as the plaintiff and you are hoping to get a settlement from the defendant or the other part. After filing a complaint, you’ll simply have to wait whether or not the defendant admits to the claims. In some cases, the defendant makes cross-claims if there are other parties involved.
The defendant and his legal team will be given a deadline for their response to your claims. Once they do respond, then the case proceeds into the next step.
There are several motions that the defendant can make in his response. How the case proceeds depends on what their response is. One of those motions is for the change of venue. This is for when the defendant feels that he might need to move the case to a different courthouse for personal reasons, which could be to accommodate his proximity. Alternatively, the defendant can also file for a motion to change of judge.
The defendant is also legally allowed to file for a motion to dismiss. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are claiming your accusations are false. In some cases, they are hoping to buy more time for recovery or the preparation of their documents as well.
Considering the judge denies the motion to dismiss, your court date will then be set. If could be months or even a year away so you’ll have time to prepare.
This is the most crucial part of the process as this involves a thorough investigation of both parties. They will conduct various investigative practices such as interviewing witnesses, gathering surveillance footage, and more. Basically, this is the part of the trial in which both parties begin finding the evidence they will use in court.
With all these done, your case will officially be underway. It could either be a bench or a jury trial. In bench trials, the ruling will be provided solely by the judge. While in a jury trial, an independent party consisting of at least 10 juries will be part of the decision makers on whether or not your case is a success.