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No one expects to get into a car accident, however, once someone is involved in one it can be hard to deal with the impact. At the very least, an individual will have to deal with damage to their car and dealing with elevated insurance premiums. In the worst case scenario, an individual might sustain serious injuries as the result of the accident. No matter the situation, the unexpected emotional, physical, and financial costs that come with a car accident, can cause even more stress.
If you have been in a Cherry Hill car accident, you do not have to shoulder the consequences of this accident alone. A skilled car accident lawyer can use their knowledge of Cherry Hill car accident trials to advocate for you and work to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Process of Litigating a Car Accident Case
In Cherry Hill car accident trials, generally, the first thing that happens is the person files a complaint. Once a complaint is filed, the defendant or typically the defendant’s insurance company will file an answer. That insurance company will have an attorney representing the insurance company and/or the individual defendant by filing an answer. Then, the matter would proceed to discovery, which refers to the exchange of information. Discovery is obtained by the exchange of written questions as well as the obtaining of oral testimony, which is called a deposition.
At some point after the exchange of discovery and/or the facts of the case, there is an opportunity to engage experts who then gather the factual information and prepare expert reports. Both the plaintiff and defendant would obtain experts that would counter each other. Those experts will likely give a deposition testimony or sworn testimony under oath. If the case is unable to resolve through negotiation, a trial date would be set and they would go to trial.
The degree of how contested responsibility or liability is, the extent of damages, the location of the court, and whether it is one county over another are all various factors that could affect the length of litigation.
Broadly, the process in Cherry Hill car accident trials involves selecting a jury of an individual’s peers in the specific county the case is filed. Once the jury has been selected, each party gives an opening statement.
In New Jersey, the party bringing the claim, also called the plaintiff, has the opportunity to give opening statements first, because they have the burden of proof. Therefore, it is the plaintiff or the party bringing the claim’s responsibility to show that there was a duty that was breached that caused damage, and that is why the plaintiff would proceed first in opening statements.
After opening statements, the plaintiffs would have an opportunity and obligation to present evidence to prove their case and meet the elements of their claims. Conversely, the defendants will have an opportunity not only to cross-examine the plaintiff’s witness and to counter the plaintiff’s evidence, but they have an opportunity to put their own case on to defend the plaintiff’s allegations. Finally, each party will have an opportunity to provide a closing statement.
In closing statements, the order is reversed. In closing statements, the defendant would go first, providing closing or a summary of the arguments in an attempt to explain how that evidence should be used with respect to law in New Jersey. The plaintiff would have the opportunity at the end because they have the burden of proof to conclude the case by closing after the defendant. Then, a jury would render a verdict.
Are All Car Accident Trials Jury Trials or Can They Be Bench Trials?
Typically, a car accident case in New Jersey will be a jury trial. That benefits the plaintiff as a jury is typically made up of people from the community as opposed to a bench trial, which is one judge who may or may not be biased against cases or who may or may not have been a defense attorney before being on the bench. Although a judge is supposed to be impartial, every person brings their own bias and partiality to a decision.
That is why most cases involving car accidents will be in front of a jury and a jury of people from the community. However, New Jersey does allow at times an expedited trial. That is in front of a jury, but instead of having experts come in, litigators are able to use their reports in a summary fashion in front of a jury and simply read their reports. Based on the factual testimony of the injured party, it will provide all the evidence for a jury to make a determination as to fault and damages.
Elements in a Car Accident Case
In every case, it is important to tell the client’s story. The only way to do that is to fully understand what happened, including who is responsible and what specific facts could be used to prove responsibility. Most importantly, once litigators prove responsibility, they need to be able to make a jury understand how these injuries have impacted somebody’s life. It is not just lost wages and the ability to pay for medical care, but making a jury understand the greatest loss, which is the human suffering that comes when somebody has been injured and suffered on a daily basis.
Role of Attorneys in Car Accident Cases
It is very important for clients to understand that not every attorney is a trial attorney. There are many lawyers who are not comfortable in the courtroom. If someone is a certified civil trial attorney in the State of New Jersey that means that they have tried a number of cases to conclusion, they have taken a separate exam, received recommendation letters from other lawyers and judges, and obtained certification by the New Jersey Supreme Court.
However, there are many attorneys that call themselves car accident lawyers who are not real trial attorneys. Only an experienced lawyer will know how to navigate Cherry Hill car accident trials which is why you should get in contact with an experienced Cherry Hill lawyer if you have been involved in an accident. A Cherry Hill car accident lawyer can fight for you.