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What To Expect If Your Car Accident Case Goes To Trial in South Carolina

Accident Case Goes to Trial

The truth is that most personal injury cases get settled out of court, through negotiation and back-and-forth between you, your attorney, and the insurance companies and other parties involved. Sometimes, however, an agreement can’t be reached and it’s necessary to go to court to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Learn what happens if your car accident injury case goes to trial, the process of litigation, and how a personal injury lawyer is your best ally.

Car Accident Jury Selection

The first step in a car accident trial is jury selection. Usually, a jury has twelve members, but in some cases the number can be smaller. During a phase called voir dire, the jury is selected. The judge and attorneys ask the jurors questions to determine whether they’re good choices and select the best to render an impartial decision.

Opening Statement

When the trial begins, each side will make an opening statement which summarizes the key points in their case. Usually the plaintiff goes first, and outlines what they’re going to prove. The defense then goes and states how they feel the plaintiff won’t be able to prove the necessary evidence.

Presentation of Evidence

The bulk of the trial involves each side taking turns presenting evidence. The plaintiff goes first, and this is where you’ll make your case. You’ll show the circumstances of the accident, bringing in expert witnesses.

You will present medical bills, treatments, and witnesses to establish that you were seriously injured and the other party was responsible. Witnesses in a vehicle accident trial can include bystanders, other passengers, and experts who present medical and forensic opinions and analysis.

Following the plaintiff, the defense presents their own evidence which will be similar, but opposite, trying to disprove what you have said.

Closing Statements and Deliberation

After evidence is presented, each side will make a closing statement, summarizing their overall evidence and making an argument why the jury should find in their favor. At this point, the jury withdraws to debate among themselves the proper verdict. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes up to a few days, depending on the complexity of the case.

Understand that the idea of “reasonable doubt” that you’ve heard so much about on police drama TV shows doesn’t necessarily apply in a civil case such as an auto accident. The jury simply has to be convinced that you’re probably in the right and deserve compensation. Civil cases are both more flexible and more complex in this manner.

Why You Need an Attorney

Because of the unique rules of civil trials, and the fact that the other side will certainly have a powerhouse attorney on their side, you need representation by a qualified North and South Carolina auto accident attorney. Only with an attorney in your corner can you ensure your rights are represented to their maximum potential. If you’ve been in an accident and need help litigating the results, check out more information about auto accidents and contact us for help today.