After a car accident, it may be tempting to accept a settlement offer as soon as possible so you can move forward with your life. However, initial offers from insurance companies tend to diminish the extent of your suffering. At Smith Hulsey, we believe in fighting for what our clients deserve, even if it means taking a case into litigation.
Preparing for car accident trials in Gainesville can seem like an overwhelming responsibility. Our car accident attorneys are here to take as much work off your plate as possible, fighting on your behalf while you focus on recovering.
After an auto accident in Gainesville, the injured person, or “plaintiff,” must take the first step toward a trial. A potential plaintiff must file a lawsuit against the negligent party to initiate litigation. After the opposing side answers this complaint, a six-month discovery period begins. During this time, the plaintiff and defendant can request documents and ask questions related to the accident to gather evidence. Preparing for trial also involves jury selection and depositions. In these depositions, all involved parties must testify under oath.
After a potential plaintiff and their attorney complete these preparations, the trial can begin. Both sides give opening statements that serve as the roadmap for litigation in court. Then, an injury attorney presents the plaintiff’s case. This includes calling on any witnesses or experts and presenting all available evidence to indicate a defendant is at fault. A plaintiff’s attorney will also present evidence that demonstrates a defendant is liable. Once the plaintiff’s side has finished, the defendant and their attorney present their evidence and rebuttals.
Finally, both sides give closing statements. The plaintiff’s attorney presents a concluding argument and the amount they are asking for on behalf of their client. The judge then gives the jury instructions for deliberation and allows them to decide on the final verdict.
In Gainesville, plaintiffs in car accident cases can choose to have a bench trial instead of a jury trial. Courts are often willing to accommodate these requests because it saves judicial resources and makes the case less expensive. However, the Smith Hulsey team recommends pursuing jury trials with a maximum of 12 jurors, as the jury tends to be much more receptive to a plaintiff’s suffering. It is very rare that a jury trial does not give a plaintiff the best possible chance at getting the outcome they deserve.
One of the major reasons people want to settle without litigating is the amount of time a trial can take. When parties are reasonable and strong evidence supports a plaintiff’s claims, litigation can last less than a year. However, cases that go to trial are often complex and involve disputed liability. Resolving these cases through litigation often takes two years or more.
Even if a trial is scheduled, a plaintiff can continue negotiations and mediation sessions with the defendant and their insurance company. Having a jury trial on the horizon could put pressure on the opposing side to be more accommodating in these negotiations.
A seasoned attorney could evaluate a case to determine the best legal strategy for pursuing compensation. If that strategy involves litigation, a Gainesville lawyer could take the lead on handling the logistical requirements of preparing for a car accident trial. A client’s only responsibilities are responding to written discovery requests and testifying under oath during depositions.
Most auto collision cases are settled without ever having to go to trial. However, being prepared for a car accident trial in Gainesville could help you push insurance companies to provide fair compensation sooner rather than later. In cases where an insurance company is unwilling to provide a fair settlement offer, you can rest assured knowing you have an attorney on your side willing to take your case to trial. Contact our team at Smith Hulsey to discuss how exactly we could support you.
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