Car Accident Trials in Chattanooga

Following a car accident, you have the right to consult an attorney to discuss potential legal actions. Although you may have the option of settling out of court, car accident trials in Chattanooga are typically the next step. If you have been injured or have sustained damage to your car in an accident, it is important that you seek the services of a compassionate car crash lawyer. They could guide you through the litigation process and pursue a positive outcome for you.

Are Car Accident Cases Jury Trials or Bench Trials?

Car accident trials in Chattanooga can be either bench trials or jury trials. A plaintiff is not required to request a jury trial. If neither the plaintiff nor the defendant requests a jury trial, it automatically becomes a bench trial in front of a judge and the judge performs the role of the jury and makes all the decisions. There are other situations like when someone sues a governmental entity that they are not entitled to a jury trial. They are only entitled to a judge and a bench trial if they sue the county, the city, or certain other governmental agencies.

Elements in Car Accident Cases

An important element in a car wreck case is making sure to meet the legal requirements of the law. In almost every car wreck case, litigators have to prove negligence and that the defendant did something they should not have done or should have done something that they failed to do. Litigators have to prove that they failed to do something or they did something that they were not supposed to do that caused a wreck and the wreck caused injuries to the plaintiff. They also have to prove that that wreck occurred in Hamilton County or whatever venue they are in. They also have to, in most cases, present expert testimony of what the plaintiff’s injuries were and make sure that all of these things are put in evidence in an admissible, legally-sufficient way so that neither the judge nor an appeals court can throw the case out on technicalities.

The Process of Litigation in Car Crashes

Car accident trials in Chattanooga start with jury selection and then move onto opening statements, the plaintiff’s case, the defendant’s case, and closing statements. Then a judge gives the jury instructions, which includes the laws that govern the case. The jurors deliberate and render a verdict. Litigation in car accident cases frequently lasts about two years if a case goes to trial. It is very seldom that a car wreck case gets to trial within one year of filing the lawsuit. The trial process is the trial court sets a trial date. The lawyer goes to trial on that date, chooses a jury, makes opening statements, puts your witnesses on the stand, presents evidence, and before the jury, gives closing statements. The judge gives the jury instructions. Then the jury deliberates and renders a verdict.

Opening Statements

Opening statements come from both the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff goes first because they are the ones who brought the case. They are the ones saying that something should be done by the jury or the court. They are asking the jury to do something, so they go first on just about everything. The opening statement’s purpose is to tell the jury what the evidence is going to be to give them a roadmap for what they are going to be hearing during the trial.

Closing Statements

The closing statements are presented by the lawyers. There is one lawyer for the plaintiff and one lawyer for the defendant. It is an interesting situation because the plaintiff gets to go first in closing statement, then the defendant goes, and then the plaintiff gets to go. The plaintiff gives their closing statement, then the defendant gives their closing statement, and then the plaintiff gets a rebuttal of the defendant’s closing statement. In effect, the plaintiff gets two closing statements at the end of a trial, because the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. They are given the opportunity to respond to anything the defendant brought up and to give any counter-arguments that might affect how the jury understands the arguments that have been made.

How Closing Statements Influence the Outcome of the Case

Closing statements are the lawyer’s clearest opportunity to present arguments to the jury during car accident trials in Chattanooga. Until closing statements, almost everything the lawyer says to the jury after jury selection has to be about the facts of the case. However, in closing statements, they can start to make arguments that include the facts as well as arguments for why the jury should do what they think the jury should do. If the jury agrees with those arguments, they can change their mind about what they were planning to do.

Factors That Can Influence the Length of a Case

Several factors can influence the length or brevity of a case, including how complicated the case is, how long the plaintiff’s treatment lasted, how many doctors the plaintiff saw, and how many defendants were involved. If a person has one doctor in a minor or straightforward injury, maybe a broken arm or leg that heals in a matter of three or four months, then the litigation might not last long because the issues are clear. If there are multiple injuries to a plaintiff who saw a dozen doctors, then lawyers might need to take several doctors’ depositions, the plaintiff might still be having surgery or receiving therapy after the litigation is filed. Lawyers need to wait until after the treatment is complete before taking the doctors’ depositions and trying the case. Those things can make a case last a lot longer. If an individual wants to know more about car accident trials in Chattanooga, they should speak with a lawyer that could answer their questions.

Car Accident Trials in Chattanooga