What Can You Expect If Your Car Accident Case Goes to Trial?

  • By James Rush
  • 29 May, 2017
What Can You Expect If Your Car Acccident Case Goes to Trial

Most car accident claims can be settled out of court, so the victim rarely has to sit through a lengthy trial in order to recover the compensation he or she deserves. But there are some car accident cases that cannot be settled out of court, so it’s important for you be prepared in case this happens to you. Here’s what you should expect during a car accident trial:

Opening Statements

The attorneys for both the plaintiff and defendant will make an opening statement to start off the trial. The plaintiff’s attorney will usually use this as a time to set the scene for the jury so they understand exactly what happened during the accident and why the defendant is believed to be at fault. He may also briefly discuss the injuries the plaintiff has suffered, and how these injuries have affected the plaintiff’s life.

Then, the defense attorney will get a chance to deliver his opening statement. Most attorneys choose to focus on explaining how they will disprove the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s attorney.

Evidence

Next, each side will get a chance to present relevant evidence to the jury. Each side is able to call witnesses, which may include the plaintiff, the defendant, other drivers involved in the accident, witnesses, accident reconstruction specialists, or medical experts, among many others. Each of the plaintiff’s witnesses will be questioned by the plaintiff’s attorney, cross-examined by the defendant’s attorney, and then questioned again by the plaintiff’s attorney. The same process is followed for the defense’s witnesses as well.

During the presentation of evidence, the plaintiff’s attorney will attempt to persuade the jury that the defendant is at fault for the accident and should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Witnesses may also be called to prove the extent of the injuries. On the other hand, the defendant’s attorney will use this part of the trial to poke holes in the plaintiff’s case and persuade the jury to doubt the plaintiff’s version of the story.

Closing Statements

After both attorneys have presented all of their evidence, they will each be given an opportunity to deliver a closing statement to the jury. These statements are used to refresh the jury’s memory of the evidence and help them draw certain conclusions from it. The goal is to get the jury members to believe your side of the story over the other party’s.

Deliberation & Verdict

The jury members will be sent to deliberation after hearing the closing arguments. The conversations that take place between jury members are confidential, so both sides will have to wait until the jury has reached a verdict to find out who they believe. Once the jury has reached a verdict, they will alert the judge and return to the courtroom, where the verdict will be read aloud.

It’s important to work with a personal injury attorney who is comfortable taking your case to court if it is necessary to reach a fair settlement. James Rush at Rush Injury Law will not back down—even it means preparing to go to court on your behalf. To schedule a consultation with James Rush, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 19 Aug, 2017

There are an estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries every year. Even though these injuries are so common, many people still don’t know much about them. Learn the truth behind these common myths about traumatic brain injuries (TBIs):

Myth: If you didn’t lose consciousness, you did not sustain a brain injury.

Some people believe that every person who sustains a brain injury will lose consciousness, but that’s not necessarily true. Loss of consciousness is one of many symptoms of TBIs. Victims who sustain moderate or severe TBIs will always lose consciousness, but many victims who sustain mild TBIs remain conscious. If you hit your head during an accident, don’t assume that you do not have a brain injury just because you never lost consciousness.

Myth: Symptoms of a TBI appear immediately.

Every TBI is unique, so there’s no way of predicting how and when you will experience symptoms . Some people begin to notice the physical and cognitive changes right away, while others may not experience any symptoms until hours after the injury. In some cases, the physical symptoms will immediately appear, while the cognitive symptoms may not be noticed until you are attempting to complete certain tasks.

Myth: You have to hit your head against something in order to sustain a brain injury.

It is often assumed that a brain injury can only develop after you hit your head against a hard object. This is one way that you can sustain a brain injury, but it’s certainly not the only way. Many people suffer TBIs after their head quickly accelerates forward and decelerates backward, similar to the movement that causes whiplash injuries in a car accident. Although your head does not make contact with a hard object, your brain will still be pushed against the skull, which can lead to a TBI.

Myth: Doctors can diagnose TBIs with MRIs and CT scans.

If a doctor suspects that you have a brain injury, he will most likely perform MRIs and/or CT scans to take a look at your brain. However, there is no guarantee that these tests will see reveal signs of damage. In moderate and severe cases, a doctor can typically spot brain damage using these tests, but this is not always possible with mild cases. If nothing is visible, the doctor will diagnose you with a mild TBI based on his observations alone.

If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will immediately begin negotiations with the at-fault party to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 16 Aug, 2017

Most of the time, the plaintiff in a personal injury case will receive compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company instead of directly from the individual. Because of this, it’s important that you understand how insurance policy limits affect your personal injury case.

What is an Insurance Policy Limit?

Every insurance policy has a limit that represents the maximum dollar amount that the insurance company is on the hook to pay on behalf of one of their policyholders. For example, a driver may have a car insurance policy with a $25,000 limit. If you are injured in a car accident caused by this driver, the most that you will be able to recover from his insurance company is $25,000, regardless of the severity of your injuries.

Some types of insurance policies have higher limits than others. For instance, policies that cover semi-trucks have significantly higher limits than car insurance policies. Businesses may also have high limits on their liability insurance to protect them in the event of a slip and fall accident. However, a high insurance policy limit does not mean you will automatically recover more compensation. You will still need to work with an attorney to prove the value of your claim regardless of how high the limit may be.

Minimum Policy Limits

In California, there are no minimum policy limits for homeowners’ insurance or commercial general liability insurance. This means the policies that cover injuries that occur on public or private property can vary greatly in terms of limits. However, the state of California does have minimum policy limits in place for all drivers. Every driver in California should have an auto insurance policy that covers at least $15,000 for a single death or injury, $30,000 for death or injury to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. This means if you are involved in an accident with an insured driver, you can expect that driver to have a policy that covers at least $15,000 of your injuries.

An attorney can help you discover the at-fault party’s insurance policy limit. An attorney will need to contact the insurance adjuster, who will then need to ask the insured for permission to release this information to you.

If you have been injured by another person’s negligence, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. Our team will explain all of your legal options and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 15 Aug, 2017

Sometimes, an insurance company will ask a car accident victim to receive a medical examination from an independent doctor who can confirm the victim’s injuries. This may sound harmless, but this doctor’s appointment could affect the outcome of your claim. Here’s what you need to know about independent medical examinations after car accidents:

“Independent” Medical Examination

This type of examination is supposed to be performed by an unbiased doctor that is independent from the car accident victim and the insurance company. However, that is not always the case. The insurance company will get to choose which doctor you see for this exam, and will typically choose one that has a history of examining victims for insurance companies. Even though the doctor is not employed by the insurance company, it’s a stretch to call him “independent.”

Potential Outcomes

Insurance companies aim to use the information from the examination to poke holes in your claim. After being examined, it’s possible that the doctor will tell the insurance company that your injuries were not caused by the car accident. It’s also possible that the doctor will report that you are not injured at all or not injured as badly as you claim to be. If this happens to you, the insurance company will jump on the opportunity to offer you far less than you deserve or deny your claim.

What to Do About This Examination

You should never agree to an independent medical examination without consulting with your attorney. In fact, your attorney may be able to argue that the examination is unnecessary so you don’t have to go.

If you do have to submit to an independent medical examination, bring someone with you. This person will serve as a witness as to what you said and how the doctor treated you. Talk to your attorney prior to the appointment so he can prepare you for the examination. Your attorney may tell you to avoid saying certain things that can be taken out of context. He may also suggest that you only submit to certain tests that are relevant to your injuries.

Be honest during the examination. The doctor will report back to the insurance company that you are exaggerating your injuries if he suspects you are being dishonest. Immediately after the appointment, write down as much information as possible about what happened. Be sure to hold onto any documents that were given to you regarding the examination and get in touch with your attorney to discuss how it went.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. Dealing with an insurance company after an accident can be stressful and intimidating, which is why you should let James Rush take on this task. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 11 Aug, 2017

Personal injury claims can either be settled outside of the courtroom during negotiations between attorneys or by going to trial. The vast majority of personal injury cases—around 95 percent —are settled in pre-trial negotiations. This means the defendant has made an attractive offer to the plaintiff, who has decided to accept the offer instead of trying her luck in court. It can be difficult to determine whether you should accept a settlement or go to trial, so most clients rely on their attorneys for advice regarding this decision. But, what happens when you and your attorney disagree about accepting a settlement vs. going to trial?

Ultimately, the plaintiff is the one who gets to make this decision. However, it’s important to understand why an attorney is pushing for one option over the other before you decide.

Why Your Attorney Wants to Accept a Settlement

If your attorney is pushing you to accept a settlement, it could mean that he believes you don’t have strong evidence that will hold up in court. In some cases, the offer on the table may be much higher than what your attorney expected, so he may suggest settling instead of risking it by going to court. An attorney may also recommend settling if you are eager to receive compensation. A trial can drag on for months, so if you don’t have this time to waste, it’s in your best interests to settle.

Some clients worry that their attorneys are advising them to settle solely so they can cross this case off of their checklist, but that shouldn’t be a concern. It’s important to remember that personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means it’s in their best interests to maximize the amount of compensation that you are awarded. If your attorney truly felt that going to trial was the better option, he wouldn’t keep this information from you.

Why Your Attorney Wants to Go to Trial

Attorneys will suggest going to trial if they believe the offer on the table is not fair. If your attorney believes he can recover a lot more compensation in court, he will try to persuade you to go to trial. An attorney will only suggest taking your case to court if he believes you have enough evidence to make a strong case against the defendant. The details of your case may also affect whether an attorney wants to take your case to court or not. For example, juries are more sympathetic to some victims than others, so your attorney will likely analyze how the jury will react to your case before making this decision.

If you are interested in filing a personal injury claim, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will always offer honest legal advice to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 10 Aug, 2017

Slip and fall accidents can happen on any type of private or public property that has not been properly maintained. Here’s a look at some of the most common places for slip and fall accidents:

Private Homes

People often associate slip and fall accidents with commercial establishments, but they often occur within private homes as well. It’s possible to slip and fall while visiting the home of a friend, family member, or neighbor. It may be uncomfortable seeking legal action after an accident that occurs in a loved one’s home, but remember, you will most likely be dealing with the insurance company, not with your loved one.

Hotels and Resorts

Guests may fall for a number of reasons while on a hotel property. Perhaps a waiter spilled a bucket of ice on the floor of the hotel restaurant or the hotel manager failed to spot a rip in the carpet within the lobby. If you injure yourself on the property of a hotel or resort, it’s important to seek legal representation from an attorney. It’s typically more difficult to prove liability and negotiate a settlement in cases against large businesses, so you will need help from an experienced lawyer.

Grocery Stores

Many slip and fall accidents that take place within grocery stores occur when someone slips on a wet floor. The floors inside grocery stores may become wet when a product spills or when customers come inside the store with wet shoes or clothing on a rainy day. It’s also common to trip over an object that has fallen into the middle of the grocery aisle. Grocery stores have a lot of inventory on their shelves, so this is a common safety hazard that property owners must be aware of at all times.

Parking Lots

Property owners have to protect their guests beginning the moment they pull into the property and find a parking spot. Unfortunately, there are many hazards that could lead to slip and fall accidents in a parking lot. Some of the most common causes are inadequate lighting and cracks or holes in the pavement. If you are injured in a parking lot outside of a commercial establishment, don’t forget to go inside and alert the store manager or property owner of the accident.

It doesn’t matter where your slip and fall accident occurred—it’s in your best interests to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today to learn how our team can help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 07 Aug, 2017

When two or more cars collide, the fault is typically assigned to one or more of the drivers involved in the accident. However, sometimes determining fault is not easy, especially if one of the drivers uses the medical emergency defense.

What is the Medical Emergency Defense?

No one can plan when they experience a medical emergency , and unfortunately, sometimes these emergencies occur when people are driving. Drivers may be able to maintain control of the vehicle, pull over, and seek medical attention for minor issues, but sometimes this is not possible. In order to use the medical emergency defense, the driver must be able to prove:

·      She lost control of the vehicle right before the accident.

·      The loss of control caused the accident.

·      The loss of control was caused by an unexpected medical emergency.

 

Some examples of medical emergencies that could cause this to happen include heart attacks, strokes, diabetic episodes, or any other health condition that causes you to lose consciousness.

Are There Exceptions to the Medical Emergency Defense?

The emergency that caused the accident must have been unexpected. This means if you can prove that the driver was aware or should have been aware of her medical condition, she may not be able to use this defense. For example, a driver who has been warned not to drive by her doctor cannot use the medical emergency defense. In this case, the driver was negligent by getting behind the wheel despite her doctor’s warnings. Therefore, she cannot escape liability by using the medical emergency defense. Another example would be a driver who has a medical emergency that was actually a bad reaction to prescription medication. If the medication comes with a warning label that states the driver should not operate a vehicle, she may not be able to use this defense.

How to Handle This Defense Strategy

If the defendant successfully uses this strategy, it’s possible that you will be responsible for your own damages and you will not be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. That’s why if you are involved in an accident where the other driver has used the medical emergency defense, it’s important to contact an attorney right away. An attorney may be able to poke holes in the defendant’s story to prove that she should have known about the medical condition that she claims was an unexpected emergency.

Car accident victims should seek legal representation from personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . Our team will fight tirelessly to prove liability and help you recover the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 05 Aug, 2017

Slip and fall accidents often occur on public property that is equipped with security cameras. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s important to find out if there are cameras on the property. Why? The footage may be the evidence that you need to prove the property owner is liable so you can recover compensation for your injuries. Here’s how you can obtain surveillance videos after a slip and fall accident:

Sending A Preservation of Evidence Letter

Get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident so he can send a preservation of evidence letter to the property owner or store manager who oversees the property where the injury occurred. This letter informs the defendant that you are being represented by an attorney and asks that they do not destroy the video evidence of the slip and fall accident.

Take Legal Action

Unfortunately, some defendants will not preserve the evidence even if it is requested in a timely manner. Spoliation of evidence occurs when a defendant purposely destroys the surveillance footage or fails to preserve it after he has been instructed to so. If this happens in your case, the defendant may be entitled to an adverse inference jury instruction in court. This means the jury will be instructed to consider whether the defendant purposely destroyed the evidence. If the jury believes that the defendant did in fact destroy evidence, the jury can assume that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the defendant when deciding the outcome of the case. Therefore, it’s possible that the surveillance footage will still strengthen your case even if it is not presented as evidence in court.

Things to Consider After a Slip and Fall

It’s important to note that time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining video footage. There are no laws regarding how long businesses have to hold onto surveillance footage. Some businesses do not preserve footage for longer than a day while others may dispose of it after several weeks. Act quickly so you can ensure that your attorney contacts the defendant before the footage is destroyed.

If you have fallen on someone else’s property, you should always ask if you need to file an incident report. Many businesses have policies in place that require them to preserve surveillance footage any time an incident report has been filed. Filing this report may buy you a little time while you find an attorney who can officially reach out to the defendant with the preservation of evidence letter.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, don’t delay in seeking legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney. James Rush at Rush Injury Law will immediately begin to investigate your case and gather evidence that is needed to prove liability. Reach out to our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 03 Aug, 2017

A slip and fall accident occurs when someone falls on another person’s property due to some sort of safety hazard, such as wet floors, debris, potholes, or uneven carpeting. Many people sustain serious injuries from falling, including broken bones, back injuries, and head trauma. You may be able to hold the property owner liable and recover compensation for these injuries. However, the outcome of your case can be affected by the choices you make immediately after the accident. Increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve by learning what to do after a slip and fall:

Seek Medical Attention

Your first priority after any type of accident should be seeking medical attention for your injuries. If you believe that you are seriously injured, call 9-1-1 and try to stay as still as possible until help has arrived. If you do not receive emergency medical attention at the scene of the accident, it’s important to visit a doctor as soon as possible afterwards. Be sure to tell your doctor every symptom that you are experiencing no matter how minor it may be. Hold onto all of your medical records so you can prove the extent of your injuries.

Gather Evidence

Collect information from any witnesses who happened to be around when you fell. If you were in a commercial establishment at the time, jot down the names of any employees who may have rushed to your side to help you after the fall. You should also take photos of the scene so you can document the dangerous condition that caused you to slip. Look around the area to see if you spot any surveillance cameras. If there are cameras, make a mental note of this so you can request a copy of the tapes later.

Report the Fall

It’s important to let someone on the property know about the fall if there was no one there to witness it. Find the property owner, landlord, store manager, or supervisor and let them know what happened. However, do not give a full statement about the accident or comment on your injuries.

Contact an Attorney

It’s in your best interests to get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away after the accident. This is especially true when you need to obtain surveillance footage from the property where the accident occurred before it is deleted. An attorney can help you investigate the factors that caused your accident, calculate the value of your claim, and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, seek legal representation right away. Contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law to learn how you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress and mental suffering, and more. Reach out to our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 01 Aug, 2017

If your loved one’s death was caused by the negligent acts of another person, there are two types of lawsuits that you may be able to file: a wrongful death claim and a survival action. It’s important that you understand the difference between these two lawsuits so you know all of your legal options. Take a look at wrongful death claims vs. survival actions:

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that can be filed by certain members of the victim’s family in order to recover compensation for their losses. In California, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the victim’s spouse, partner, children, and other members of the family that were financially dependent on the victim. These surviving members of the victim’s family may be able to recover compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and loss of income.

Survival Actions

A survival action is also a civil lawsuit, but there are several differences between this type of lawsuit and a wrongful death claim. First, the representative of the victim’s estate is the person who files a survival action. If the victim did not appoint anyone, the decedent’s successor-in-interest will be able to file a survival action instead. Second, whereas a wrongful death claim compensates the victim’s family members, a survival claim compensates the victim’s estate. Why? The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate family members for losses that they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. However, the purpose of a survival action is to compensate the estate for damages suffered by the victim prior to her death.

For example, let’s say your loved one was involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver. She sustained serious injuries and was admitted into the hospital for treatment, where she remained for several days before passing away. In this case, a survival action could be filed to recover compensation for medical expenses the victim incurred prior to her death. To put it simply, a survival action claim is similar to a personal injury claim that the victim would have been able to file had she survived.

Taking legal action may be the last thing on your mind after losing a loved one, but it’s important to explore your options with the help of an attorney.

If you have lost a loved one, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will help you understand your legal options so you can recover the maximum amount of compensation for your loss. Contact our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

By James Rush 28 Jul, 2017

Personal injury cases involving truck accidents and car accidents may seem similar, but the truth is that truck accident cases are typically far more complex. It’s important that you understand how truck accidents differ from car accidents in the event that you are ever involved in this type of collision. Here’s a look at car accidents vs. truck accidents:

Severity of Injuries

Both truck and car accidents can lead to injuries. However, trucks often weigh between 20-30 times more than cars, which means when they collide with cars, the results can be catastrophic. People who are involved in truck accidents typically sustain far more serious injuries than people who are involved in car accidents. Some truck accident injuries may affect victims for the rest of their lives, so victims may need to calculate long-term medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering when determining the value of their claim.

Fortunately, there are much larger insurance policies on trucks than there are on cars. This means victims have the potential to recover more after a truck accident than they would be able to after a car accident.

Liable Parties

Determining liability is one of the many challenges in a truck accident case. In a car accident, liability will usually be assigned to one of the drivers involved in the crash. However, there are many other parties that can be liable for a truck accident besides the driver, including the trucking company, parts manufacturer, and company that has loaded the cargo onto the truck. Before you can begin pursuing compensation, you have to determine liability by investigating the cause of the accident. This can be difficult—especially if you’re attempting to do it without an attorney.

Trucking Industry Regulations

Trucking companies must comply with a number of federal regulations that control how many hours drivers are allowed to be on the road, when drivers should take a break, and how often the trucks should be maintained. If a trucking company violates any of these regulations, it’s possible that the company will be held liable for your injuries. For example, the accident could have been caused by a driver who was drowsy because he was overscheduled by his employer. If the employer violated federal regulations by asking the driver to work too many hours without taking a break, the employer would be held liable for the accident.

Truck accidents may lead to more devastating injuries, but the truth is every type of traffic collision is serious. If you have been injured in a car or truck accident, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . Get in touch with our law office by calling 415-897-4801 or filling out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com to request a free consultation.

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