Orange County Auto Accident Case Overview
You're not a lawyer and you've likely never been a plaintiff in a serious civil lawsuit, so you shouldn't be embarrassed that you don't know exactly what will happen during your Orange County auto accident case. While each and every case is unique and follows a different path, below is a generalized outline of the typical car crash lawsuit.
First, of course, an accident occurs. If another driver hits you and you sustain an injury, you have a car accident claim. You should immediately contact a lawyer. It is important to find someone who is both experienced and well-regarded for client service. Scott D. Hughes has spent nearly a decade assisting countless Orange County clients who were injured in tragic and sudden car accidents. His focus is on aiding you in your recovery, not lining his pockets. When you have an attorney who truly cares about you and how the outcome of the case affects your life, you have an attorney who will tirelessly and diligently fight for your rights and pursue your best interests.
Once you find the right attorney, you will schedule a consultation. At the consultation, you will discuss what happened and provide any supporting evidence or documentation you may have, such as police reports or medical records. The attorney will advise you of the law and explain whether you have a potential claim. If your claim is valid, you can then work together to formulate a plan of action.
Most cases then begin with the filing of a complaint. Your attorney will draft a complaint alleging the at-fault driver was negligent in operating his vehicle. Your attorney will file the complaint in Orange County court and serve a copy on the driver and his insurance company.
At this point, the insurance company will likely attempt to mediate your case. If you are interested in negotiating, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf. You simply dictate your goals, and your attorney will pursue these goals with the attorney for the insurance company. Negotiations can take a long time and often times are fruitless. However, a settlement can be an advantageous choice for a weaker case or for a plaintiff who is not interested in lengthy litigation.
If you reject all settlement offers, you will proceed with your case. Prior to trial, the parties will conduct discovery. During this stage, both sides will essentially turn over all of their files and evidence. In civil trials like car accident cases, your evidence is an open book. At this point, your attorney may also file or respond to motions, such as motions for summary judgment.
If your case survives the motions stage, you will proceed to trial. At trial, the attorneys will begin with jury selection. Once a panel of twelve jurors is selected, the attorneys will give opening statements. Witnesses will then be called. Each witness will testify on direct, then be cross-examined by the opposing party. In addition, the parties may continue to make or renew motions before the judge. At the conclusion of testimony, the attorneys will give closing arguments to the jury, explaining how the jury should interpret the testimony they heard and evidence they saw. The jury will then deliberate and return with a verdict. If the verdict is in favor of the defendant, you have lost your case but can appeal. If the verdict is in favor of the plaintiff, you win! The verdict will dictate your award amount. You can seek damages for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Were you injured in a car accident in Orange County? Orange County Personal Injury Attorney Scott D. Hughes, can assist you with getting your life back on track after an auto accident. To learn more about whether you have a valid auto accident claim, call Scott D. Hughes, Attorney at Law, at (714) 423-6928 today to schedule a free consultation and evaluation.