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 20 Nov, 2017

Clients always ask how much compensation they will be able to recover by filing a personal injury claim. The amount of compensation that a personal injury victim is awarded can depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the injury and how the injury was treated. But, it’s important to know that the sky is not the limit when it comes to personal injury compensation. Here’s what you need to know about damage caps for a personal injury in California:

Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

Before learning about damage caps, it’s essential that you learn about the differences between economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are awarded to victims that have suffered losses or incurred expenses as a result of their injuries. For example, a victim may be awarded compensation to cover her medical expenses or the income she lost because her injuries prevented her from going to work.

Non-economic damages are given to victims to compensate them for their pain, suffering, loss of companionship, and other anguish they have experienced as a result of their injuries.

Caps on Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages

There are no caps on economic damages in the state of California, so victims don’t have to worry about not being able to recover enough to cover their expenses and losses. However, there are limits on non-economic damages in certain types of cases.

Medical malpractice victims cannot recover more than $250,000 in non-economic damages. This is a significant limitation since many medical malpractice victims suffer a great deal and deserve more compensation for their pain. But fortunately, there are no limits on economic damages for medical malpractice victims.

There are also limits on non-economic damages in car accident cases involving uninsured drivers. An uninsured driver usually cannot recover any non-economic damages in a personal injury claim—even if the other driver is insured and found to be completely at fault for the accident. The only way that an insured driver can recover non-economic damages in a car accident claim is if the at-fault party was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

If you have been injured by the negligent acts of another person, let personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law help. James Rush will work tirelessly to recover as much compensation as possible from the at-fault parties. Contact our 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 19 Nov, 2017

Dram shop laws come into play when someone is injured by a person who is under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, the individual or business that served the person alcohol could be held liable for the damages that he caused while under the influence. If you have been injured by someone who was under the influence of alcohol, it’s important to understand how California’s dram shop laws could affect your personal injury case.

Dram Shop Laws in California

Businesses that serve alcohol to someone who later injures another person are not held liable in most personal injury cases in California. That’s because the dram shop laws only hold these parties accountable when the at-fault individual is a minor who was obviously intoxicated when he or she was served alcohol.

For example, let’s say an intoxicated 17-year-old crashes into your car. You may be able to hold both the intoxicated driver and the bar that served her alcohol liable in a personal injury lawsuit if it can be proven that the bar should have stopped serving the minor alcohol because she was obviously intoxicated. However, if the driver was 45 years old instead of 17 years old, the bar cannot be held liable.

Social Host Liability

What if the intoxicated person was served alcohol at a private residence instead of a bar or restaurant? The social host , or the person who served the individual alcohol at a private residence, cannot be held liable in most cases. But, there is one exception to this rule. A social host who knowingly serves a minor alcohol can be held liable for any injuries the minor causes as a result of his or her intoxication.

Consider the example above one more time. If a friend’s parent served the 17-year-old alcohol prior to the accident, the parent can be held liable since she should have known the driver was a minor. It doesn’t matter whether the minor was obviously intoxicated or not—all that matters is that the social host knew or should have known that he or she was serving alcohol to a minor.

Have you been injured by an intoxicated individual? If so, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will aggressively seek compensation from all of parties that are liable for your injuries. Contact our 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 15 Nov, 2017

Before leaving the scene of a car accident, it’s a good idea to ask witnesses for their contact information so your attorney can get in touch with them later. Witnesses can play an important role in car accident claims. Here’s why:

“He Said, She Said”

Car accident claims often turn into “he said, she said” arguments where both sides refuse to take blame for the collision. But, a witness is a neutral third party who can provide unbiased information about the accident. This evidence is often enough to prove that one party’s story is more accurate than the other party’s version of events. Therefore, a witness can be incredibly useful when it comes to proving liability in a car accident claim.

Injuries

If the at-fault party’s insurance company does not believe that you were injured in the car accident, a witness may be able to help. Witnesses who were at the scene of the accident can comment on your physical and mental state in the moments immediately following the crash. For example, a witness can help you prove that you truly did sustain a concussion by describing how confused and disoriented you seemed after the accident.

The Importance of Credibility

The witness must be seen as credible in order for his or her testimony to impact your case. A witness who is related to you is not going to be as credible as someone who has no connection to the parties involved.

The viewpoint of the witness at the time of the accident can also affect his or her credibility. A witness who had a clear view of the entire scene and saw the accident occur will be seen as more reliable than a witness who was driving by and only saw the aftermath of the accident for a few seconds.

Witnesses who constantly change their story or second guess their initial observations will also not be seen as credible. The other party will assume the witness is either lying or suffering from a bad memory that cannot be trusted.

A credible witness can strengthen your case, but an unreliable witness can do more harm than good. Let an attorney interview each of the witnesses from the car accident scene to determine which should be used to support your case.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will immediately begin to conduct an investigation into the car accident so he can gather evidence that proves the other party is liable. Contact our 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 14 Nov, 2017

Personal injury victims may be compensated for any expenses they have incurred or losses they have suffered as a result of their injuries. Two types of losses that victims may suffer after an injury are loss of income and lost earning capacity. What’s the difference? Here’s what you need to know:

Loss of Income

Victims are often forced to take time off of work in order to recover from their injuries. During their time off, they lose the income and other benefits that they would have received if they were able to work. For example, a car accident victim may have to take a week off to undergo surgery to treat the injuries she sustained in the accident. The income that she lost by not being able to work for a week can be recovered by filing a personal injury claim.

Lost Earning Capacity

Loss of income refers to money that the victim has already lost as a result of an injury. On the other hand, lost earning capacity refers to the person’s reduced ability to earn money in the future. Victims who recover compensation for this loss have often suffered serious, life-changing injuries. For instance, someone with a paralyzing spinal cord injury may be unable to work for the rest of her life. As a result, the defendant may be ordered to compensate her for all of the income she is no longer able to earn.

Proving Loss of Income and Lost Earning Capacity

To prove loss of income, you must provide a record of your absences from work as well as your pay stubs. It may even be helpful to provide a letter from your doctor that states why it was necessary for you to take time off of work during your recovery.

Proving lost earning capacity is a bit more challenging. Your healthcare providers may need to testify to explain how your injuries will affect your ability to work in the future. But, that’s not the only challenge that you could face when recovering this type of compensation. Calculating your lost earning capacity can also be difficult. There are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration when making this calculation, including your income prior to the accident, the number of years you would have been able to work if you weren’t injured, and any potential bonuses, raises, or promotions you may have been able to earn.

Has your work been affected because of a personal injury? If so, let personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law help. James Rush will fight tirelessly to recover compensation for your loss of income, lost earning capacity, and more. Contact our 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 09 Nov, 2017

Injuries can occur at any time, but there are many types of injuries that occur more often in the winter season than any other time of the year. Here’s a look at some of the most common personal injuries that people typically suffer during the winter:

Slip and Falls

According to the National Safety Council , falls are the third leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. Many of these falls occur in the winter when the ground becomes more slippery due to ice and snow. Even a small patch of ice can cause someone to fall—especially if that person is not wearing the appropriate shoes.

Car Accidents

Icy weather conditions can also make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, which often leads to an increase in car accidents during this time of the year. But, the weather isn’t the only reason why car accidents are a major problem in the winter. More people tend to hit the road around the holidays to see friends and family. The more drivers there are on the road, the more likely it is that an accident will occur.

People also tend to celebrate the winter holidays by consuming alcohol. Sadly, many people get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. This means that not only is there an increase in drivers on the road, but there could be an increase in intoxicated, dangerous drivers, too.

Burns

The number of burn injuries also spike during the winter season. Some of these burns are due to defective holiday lights, which can cause painful electrical burns if they are in poor condition. To avoid this type of injury, be sure to never use holiday lights with exposed wiring or damaged cords.

Artificial trees, space heaters, and candles also contribute to the rise in burn injuries in the winter. Be sure to keep all heat sources away from your tree, regardless of whether it is artificial or real. If the tree is real, keep it well-watered so it doesn’t dry out. A dry tree can easily catch fire if it is too close to candles, space heaters, or a fireplace.

If you are injured this winter due to another person’s negligence, seek legal representation from personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . An injury can put a damper on your winter, but we will do our best to lift your spirits by recovering the compensation that you deserve. Contact our 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 06 Nov, 2017

People who have been injured in a car crash, slip and fall, or any other type of accident caused by another person’s negligence have the right to file a personal injury claim. But, there is a limit on the amount of time that victims have to take legal action. These time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, vary by state. Here’s what victims should know about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in California:

Most Cases Have A Two-Year Statute of Limitations

There is a two-year statute of limitations for the vast majority of personal injury cases in the state of California. This means that victims have two years from the date they were injured to file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties. For example, a victim who is injured in a car accident typically has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.

But, what if you don’t realize that you are injured immediately after the accident? In this case, the two-year time limit would begin on the date that you discovered your injuries, not on the date of the accident.

Medical Malpractice Cases

The two-year statute of limitations does not apply to medical malpractice cases. Anyone who has been injured by a negligent healthcare provider has three years from the date the injury was sustained or one year from the date the injury was first discovered, whichever occurs first.

Personal Injury Cases Involving Minors

The standard two-year statute of limitations is not applicable to personal injury cases involving minor victims. Minors have two years from the date they turn 18 years old to file a personal injury claim. For instance, let’s say a minor is injured in a car accident when she is 16 years old. Her parents can either file a lawsuit on her behalf or the minor can file a lawsuit on her own beginning when she is 18 years old. If she chooses to file the lawsuit on her own, she has until her 20th birthday to do so.

The rules are different for medical malpractice cases involving minors. The statute of limitations is three years for medical malpractice cases involving minors between the ages of six and 18. If a minor is under the age of six, the statute of limitations is either three years from the date the injuries were sustained or the date of the minor’s 8th birthday, whichever occurs later.

It may seem as if you have plenty of time to take legal action, but the years will go by faster than you can imagine. If you have been injured, it’s recommended that you contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law right away. Contact our 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 Oct, 2017

Truck accident cases are more complicated than other traffic accident cases. This is partly due to the thorough investigations that must be conducted by a personal injury attorney immediately after the crash. These investigations will uncover evidence that can be used to prove liability and help the victim recover compensation for her injuries. What do these investigations consist of? Here’s how a personal injury attorney investigates truck accidents:

Examining the Truck

A personal injury attorney may hire an expert to perform an inspection on the truck that was involved in the accident. The expert will carefully examine the truck to determine if the vehicle was properly maintained and if there are any signs that one of the parts malfunctioned while the truck was in motion. These clues can help the personal injury attorney narrow down the parties that could be liable for the accident.

Reviewing Company Records

Perhaps the most important step in the investigation is reviewing company records related to the accident. Your attorney will review the driver qualification file (DQF) to determine if the driver involved in the accident had a history of reckless driving or substance abuse. In addition to the DQF, a personal injury attorney will also need to see documentation that shows the driver was properly trained at the time of the accident.

Your attorney will need to obtain a copy of the data from the truck’s electronic on-board recorder, which is a device that records information before, during, and after an accident. This data is incredibly valuable to your case because it can be analyzed to determine if the truck driver was driving recklessly, speeding, or fatigued at the time of the accident, which can be used to determine liability. For example, if the device shows that the truck was going well above the speed limit at the time of the accident, this means the truck driver and his employer could be at fault.

Conducting Interviews

An attorney can also conduct interviews with the truck driver, the police officer that responded to the scene of the accident, and innocent bystanders that witnessed the collision. These individuals could provide valuable information as to what happened in the moments before the crash. For example, a witness may have noticed that cargo was flying off of the back of the truck right before the crash, which indicates that unsecured cargo could have caused the accident. Interviewing these individuals will help paint a complete picture of exactly what happened.

Conducting a thorough investigation of a truck accident is nearly impossible without the help of an attorney. If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . Contact our 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 26 Oct, 2017

In California, everyone that rides a motorcycle is required to wear a helmet . Even though it was established to protect motorcyclists, many of them still do not abide by this law. Not only does this put them in greater danger, but it also could affect their ability to recover compensation in a motorcycle accident claim. Here’s how wearing a helmet can affect your motorcycle accident claim:

Motorcycle Accidents With No Head Injuries

What injuries did you sustain in the accident? If you did not suffer any head injuries, then the issue of whether or not you were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident shouldn’t affect your case. For example, if you sustained a broken arm, a helmet wouldn’t have done anything to protect you from this injury. Therefore, the insurance company cannot use the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet to lower the value of your case. However, the insurance company may bring up the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet in an attempt to paint you as an irresponsible, law-breaking motorcyclist.

Motorcycle Accidents With Head Injuries

Whether the rider was wearing a helmet or not will become a bigger issue in claims involving head injuries. If the driver wasn’t wearing a helmet, it may be very difficult to recover compensation for his head injuries. The defendant will argue that the driver’s decision not to wear a helmet was negligent. The defendant will also say that the rider could have prevented the injuries by abiding by the law and putting a helmet on. An attorney may be able to prove that you would have still suffered the head injuries even if you were wearing a helmet, but this can be incredibly challenging.

If you were wearing a helmet, this could make it easier for you to recover compensation for your head injuries. The defendant will not be able to argue that you could have prevented the injuries by wearing the proper safety gear, so this eliminates one possible defense strategy.

Even though wearing a helmet may help your case, it still does not guarantee that you will be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The best way to win your case is by hiring a personal injury attorney that has experience handling motorcycle accident cases.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush has years of experience helping motorcycle accident victims recover the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. Contact our 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 23 Oct, 2017

Everyone has to walk across a parking lot in order to get inside a grocery store, movie theater, mall, or any other commercial business. But, there are often safety hazards in parking lots such as cracks in the sidewalk or potholes that can lead to slip and fall accidents. Who is liable for slip and fall accidents in parking lots? Here’s what you should know:

Identifying the Owner

The first step in determining liability for the accident is figuring out who owns the parking lot. The owner of the parking lot is typically either the owner of the business that is adjacent to the parking lot or the city. But in some cases, the owner of the parking lot is another business that is not related to the city or to the business adjacent to the parking lot.

The Cause of the Accident

You will also need to figure out why you fell. Was there a sudden change in elevation that caused you to lose your footing? Did you trip over a crack in the parking lot? Was the lighting so inadequate that you could not see the ground in front of you? If so, the property owner could be liable. But, if you fell because you tripped on your shoelace, the property owner would not liable for your injuries.

Proving Negligence

Whoever owns the parking lot is responsible for making sure there are no safety hazards that could lead to slip and fall accidents. But, this does not mean that the property owner is automatically held liable for every accident that occurs in the parking lot. In order to hold the property owner liable, you must be able to prove that he was negligent.

Property owners are negligent if they knew about the hazard, but failed to take action to fix it. They can also be negligent if they failed to inspect the property on a regular basis in order to identify potential hazards. An attorney may need to interview employees and witnesses, request security footage, and review maintenance records in order to find proof that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition. Proving negligence is key if you want to hold the property owner accountable and recover compensation for your injuries.

Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident in a parking lot? If so, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will immediately begin to gather evidence related to the accident to prove that the property owner is liable for your injuries. Contact our 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 18 Oct, 2017

When you think of a car accident, images of one car colliding into another probably come to mind. But, the truth is that many car accidents involve more than two vehicles. The more vehicles that are involved in the accident, the more likely it is that multiple drivers are at fault. Which driver is responsible for compensating you for your property damage and injuries? How should you file a claim when multiple parties are involved? Here’s what you need to know:

All Insurance Companies Should Be Notified

You will need to file multiple insurance claims if multiple drivers were at fault for the accident. Even if you think that Driver A was more at fault than Driver B, this does not mean that you should only file a claim with Driver A’s insurance company. Both insurance companies need to be notified.

Primary vs. Secondary Coverage

After notifying both Driver A’s and Driver B’s insurance companies, they will typically work with each other to determine which policy should be the primary coverage and which should be the secondary coverage. For instance, let’s say the two insurance companies decide that Driver A was 75% responsible for the accident and Driver B was only 25% responsible. In this case, Driver A’s policy would provide primary coverage and Driver B’s policy would provide secondary coverage. This means you would be compensated by Driver A’s insurance company first, then by Driver B’s company if necessary.

For example, let’s say you are entitled to $25,000 in compensation for the injuries you sustained in a car accident, but Driver A’s policy limit is only $20,000. In this case, you would recover $20,000 from Driver A and then attempt to recover the remaining $5,000 from Driver B’s insurance company. But, if Driver A’s policy limit was $25,000, then you could recover all of your damages from Driver A.

Work With An Attorney

Car accident cases become more complicated when multiple drivers are involved. Many insurance companies will try to point the finger at the other driver instead of accepting blame, which can delay the settlement. This can be a lot to handle while you are trying to recover from your injuries, which is why it’s a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney.

Have you been injured in a car accident involving multiple drivers? If so, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will work tirelessly to ensure that you are fairly compensated by the at-fault parties. Contact our 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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