Car accident claims are often filed through insurance. These cases do not need to go to court, but many car accident claims ultimately do end up in court when the insurance companies fail to cooperate and decide to undercut your payouts. What happens when these cases go to court?
In a court case, your lawyer will file the claim, laying out all the details as to why the other driver is at fault and what damages you are claiming in your case. From there, the case will progress through rounds of negotiations and potential mediation before going to trial. If your case goes to trial without a settlement, your New York car accident attorneys will have to prove the case to a judge and jury. However, some cases cannot even get that far and cannot be filed in court.
For help with your car accident claim in New York, call the Westchester car accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm, PLLC today at (914) 685-6950 to get a free case review.
First Steps of Taking a Car Accident Claim to Court in New York
When debating whether you should take your car accident claim to court in New York, there are some initial considerations. First and foremost, you should never try to handle your insurance claim or lawsuit without the help of a Yonkers personal injury lawyer. Doing so puts you at a disadvantage with negotiating skills and knowledge of the system as compared to the experienced legal teams that insurance companies use to defend their clients and their money.
One of the most important considerations when deciding to take your case to court or not will be deciding whether or not your case qualifies for a lawsuit. New York uses a no-fault insurance system that requires all claims to be filed with the driver’s own insurance company. If your insurance cannot cover all of your damages, such as vehicle damage, you may be able to sue for those elements. However, you can always sue if your injuries qualify as “severe.”
Once you decide to file your case, your car accident attorney will file a “complaint” in the proper courthouse. This complaint will lay out the four primary elements of your case: what duty the other driver owed you, how they breached that duty, how that breach caused your injuries, and what damages and injuries you suffered and need compensation for. Your lawyer will need to conduct an investigation and find the necessary evidence and witness testimony to back up this claim before your case makes it to court.
Steps for a Car Accident Court Case in New York
Many people who get injured in car accidents often have little to no prior experience with the law and with courts. That’s quite alright, as our experienced Mount Vernon car accident attorneys can guide you through the entire process of your case from filing to award. However, it is good to have a basic understanding of the stages of your case and what the case will actually look like.
After the case is filed, the defense lawyers will attempt to have the case thrown out before it gets to the “merits” of the case. This means attacking the complaint itself and saying that even if everything in your complaint is true, you would not have proven their client was at fault. Your attorney will counter these claims and fight the attacks, helping to move your case forward.
Other preliminary motions may be used to try to block certain pieces of evidence or statements from being used at trial. If your attorney can block certain unfair pieces of evidence, it can help paint a better picture for the jury – but if the defense successfully blocks certain pieces of evidence, it could make proving your case harder. This is why it is vital to work with an experienced White Plains personal injury lawyer at this stage to help you protect your case.
At the discovery stage, both sides exchange evidence they will use in court. Trials are not won in New York by surprising the other side or the judge. Both sides get a fair shot to see all the evidence and make strong arguments so that, ultimately, the right side wins. This means arranging evidence exchange, answering questions from each side, and taking depositions from witnesses before the case goes to trial.
Negotiations and Mediation
Many judges will require conferences between the parties to try to reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. If the case settles early, it helps alleviate the burden on the court system by eliminating the cost of putting on a trial and freeing up the court schedule for other cases.
Settling also saves the parties money by reducing legal fees and reducing the cost of arranging for exhibits and witness testimony in court. That can help you ultimately get more money in your pocket if the money saved can go toward your settlement value.
Judges may also require mediation, either with a private mediator or with the judge, to try to resolve differences. If a settlement is not reached, the case goes to trial. Settlements can still be made at any stage of the case, even once trial has already started.
At trial, both sides take turns presenting evidence and witnesses. Each side is also allowed to “cross-examine” the other side’s witnesses and evidence to challenge validity or show the jury problems with the evidence. Ultimately, the lawyers cannot speak directly to the jury except during the opening statements and closing arguments.
Our Yonkers car accident attorneys will put all of our experience with trials to work on your case, fighting to hold the other driver accountable for your injuries.
Call Our New York Car Accident Attorneys Today
For a free case review on your car accident claim, call The Martello Law Firm’s New York car accident attorneys today at (914) 685-6950.