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 18 Sep, 2017

One of the first steps in a personal injury case is meeting with an attorney to calculate the value of your claim. Personal injury victims may be able to recover compensation for any expenses they have incurred or expect to incur as a result of the accident. It’s fairly simple to make a list of the expenses that you have already incurred, but how do you know what expenses you should expect in the future? Here’s a look at some of the most common long-term expenses in personal injury cases:

Prescription Medications

Victims who have been seriously injured often suffer from chronic pain or mental health issues as a result of the accident. These conditions are often treated with prescription medications, which you may need to continue taking for years following the accident. Don’t forget to add the cost of these medications when calculating the value of your claim.

Mental Health Counseling

Being injured in an accident can be traumatizing, which is why many victims suffer from mental health issues. Victims may need mental health counseling for anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an accident. This is especially common in cases where a victim has sustained severe injuries that have greatly disrupted his life. For instance, a victim who is partially paralyzed or has lost a limb in an accident may be more affected than other victims who suffered far less serious injuries.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Some victims may require long-term physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to return to work or live independently. It can be difficult to predict how long you will need this type of treatment because everyone’s body will respond differently. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you will need physical therapy and rehabilitation, and if so, how long you will need it.  

Lost Wages

Victims may not be able to return to work after an accident if their injuries are severe. Sadly, this is often the case for victims who have sustained serious brain or spinal cord injuries. If your injuries have made it impossible for you to work, then you will need to include future lost wages in the calculation of your claim’s value. How much would you have been able to make in your lifetime if the accident never happened? Work with your attorney to figure out how much you have lost because of your permanent injuries.

It can be difficult to calculate the value of a personal injury claim, but James Rush at Rush Injury Law can help. James Rush will ensure that you understand the true value of your claim so you don’t accidentally settle for less than what you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 15 Sep, 2017

People often think that pedestrians can never be at fault if they are hit by a car because drivers must yield to pedestrians. However, this is not true. Both drivers and pedestrians can be liable in a pedestrian accident. Here are some of the ways that a pedestrian can be found liable:

Failing to Obey Crosswalk Signals

Crosswalk signals are used to tell pedestrians when it is safe to cross the street and when they should stand back to avoid being hit by a car. If a pedestrian fails to obey the signal by walking through a crosswalk even though he is not supposed to, he may not be able to hold the driver liable if he is hit by a car.

Jaywalking

Pedestrians are only supposed to cross the street at designated crosswalks. If a pedestrian chooses to jaywalk, which means he crosses the street in a place that is not a designated crosswalk, then he may be liable in the event of an accident.

Walking in Areas Where Pedestrians Are Prohibited

In California, pedestrians are not allowed to be on certain roads , including toll bridges, highway crossings, and tunnels that do not have sidewalks. Pedestrians who are injured while on one of these prohibited roadways may be liable since they were not supposed to be there in the first place.

Sidewalks

Pedestrians should always walk on the sidewalk if one is present. In the absence of a sidewalk, pedestrians are allowed to walk on the roadway as long as they are facing oncoming traffic. However, many pedestrians are unaware of these rules. If someone is hit by a car while violating one of these rules, it’s possible that he will be found liable for the accident instead of the driver.

Comparative Negligence

Sometimes, it’s clear that both the victim and the driver of the vehicle were partially to blame for the accident. In this situation, the court will decide how much of the fault lies with the pedestrian and how much lies with the driver. For instance, the court could rule that the driver was 60% at fault and the pedestrian was 40% at fault. The compensation awarded to the pedestrian would then be reduced by 40% to account for the role that he played in the accident.

Have you been injured in a pedestrian accident? If so, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will immediately begin to gather the evidence he needs to prove the other party was liable for the accident. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 14 Sep, 2017

Every car accident is dangerous, but unfortunately, some types of collisions tend to lead to more fatalities than others. Knowing which crashes are more fatal than others may help if you ever find yourself in the situation where you need to make last minute maneuvers in order to avoid a collision. Take a look at the most fatal types of car accidents:

Head-On Collisions

It’s estimated that only 2% of all car accidents are head-on collisions. Even though this type of car crash is not common, it still accounts for around 10% of car accident fatalities. Drivers who are involved in head-on collisions may sustain head trauma, spinal cord damage, and multiple broken bones as a result of the crash.

Rollover Accidents

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rollover accidents are second on the list of most severe car accidents. Most of these accidents are caused by “tripping,” which means the car’s tire hits something on the road such as a curb that causes the vehicle to flip. As the car rolls over, passengers who aren’t wearing their seatbelts may be thrown from the vehicle. Even if you are wearing a seatbelt, it’s very likely that you will suffer injuries if the roof or sides of the vehicle begin to cave in.

T-Bone Collisions

A T-bone collision typically occurs when a car that is legally traveling through the intersection is hit in the side by another car that is illegally running a stop sign or red light. These collisions are often fatal because of the lack of protection on the sides of most vehicles.

Multi-Car Pileups

A multi-car pileup is a type of accident that involves more than two vehicles. Although these are usually found on highways, they can happen anywhere that has a lot of traffic. Pileups are often fatal because the number of vehicles involved in the accident can make it difficult for emergency responders to rescue everyone quickly. In addition, if one car involved in the pileup catches on fire, this fire can rapidly spread to the other vehicles. Passengers who aren’t severely injured can escape by stepping out of their cars, but then they risk being hit by other drivers passing by on the road.

There are far too many car accidents involving injuries and fatalities. If you have been injured in a car accident or if your loved one was killed in a collision, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush is a personal injury attorney who will stop at nothing to hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligent actions. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 11 Sep, 2017

Dogs are known as man’s best friend, so many people fail to understand that these animals can seriously injure someone. To get a better idea of how dangerous dogs can be, take a look at these shocking dog bite statistics:

Fatal Attacks in California

In 2016, California had more fatal dog bite attacks than any other state in the U.S. There were six fatal attacks in California in 2016, and four of them involved pit bulls. Florida, North Carolina, and Texas tied for second place with three fatal attacks in each state.

Bites Per Year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. every year. Most victims heal without suffering any health complications, however 20% of victims sustain wounds that eventually become infected. The most common type of infection is caused by Pasteurella, which is a type of bacteria.

Dangerous Breeds

There were 41 fatal dog bites in the U.S. in 2016, 22 of which involved pit bulls. Although many people have argued that pit bulls are not as aggressive as people make them out to be, these statistics show otherwise. Labradors, rottweilers, American bulldogs, Belgian malinois, Doberman pinschers, and German shepherds also inflicted fatal wounds in 2016.

Cost of Treatment

You may think that treating a dog bite involves nothing more than applying antibacterial ointment and wrapping the wound in a bandage, but that’s far from the truth. It can be incredibly expensive to treat dog bites. In fact, it has been reported that the average cost of a hospital stay after a dog bite is $18,200. This means it is more expensive to treat dog bite wounds than it is to treat many other serious injuries.

Children & Dog Bites

Sadly, children are often dog bite victims. When a dog attacks an adult, he tends to go for the abdomen or chest. However, dogs typically attack the face or neck when the victim is a child. Children who are victims are often attacked in their own homes by the family dog or another dog that they are already familiar with. As a matter of fact, in incidents where the victim was a child under the age of four, the family dog was to blame in 47% of attacks .

If you have been bitten by a dog, contact personal injury attorney James Rush at Rush Injury Law . James Rush will handle every aspect of the legal process so you can focus solely on recovering from the attack. 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 08 Sep, 2017

Anyone who is involved in a car accident in California has a legal obligation to stop and exchange information with the other parties. Unfortunately, some drivers fail to fulfill this obligation. If a driver leaves the scene, the injured parties will not have a chance to exchange insurance information so they can file a claim and recover compensation. Fortunately, there are other options available. Here’s what you should do if you’re injured in a hit and run car accident:

Call the Police

If you can, call the police and provide them with as much information as possible about the vehicle that left the scene. It would be helpful to have a license plate number, but you may not have been able to get it before the car sped away. Even if you only know the color and type of vehicle that the driver was in, this may help the police track down the person who caused the accident. If the driver is caught, you will be able to pursue a personal injury claim against him.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Drivers are not required to carry uninsured motorist coverage in California, but many do anyways for extra protection. If you do have it, this will cover any property damage and injuries that you have suffered as a result of the hit and run accident.

Filing an uninsured motorist claim is similar to filing a typical car accident claim, with one exception. Instead of filing the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will need to file it with your own.

Even though you are filing the claim with your own insurance company, it’s in your best interests to work with an attorney. The insurance adjuster will try to get you to settle for as little as possible even though you are a paying policyholder. Remember, insurance companies are more concerned with profits than people.

Medical Pay Benefits Coverage

If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, your best bet is to determine if you have medical pay benefits coverage in your policy. “Med pay” will cover some of the medical bills that you have incurred as a result of your injuries. This coverage can be used regardless of who is at fault in the accident, so many people turn to it after a hit and run when they do not have uninsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, you should not expect to be fully compensated for your medical expenses if you are using this coverage.

If you have been injured in a hit and run, get in touch with James Rush at Rush Injury Law immediately. James Rush will thoroughly review your case and help you understand the legal options for recovering compensation. To schedule a free consultation, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com today.

By James Rush 08 Sep, 2017

If you are involved in a car accident, it’s very likely that your car will be damaged to some degree. Some damage can be easily repaired at an auto shop, but if the damage is extensive, the car may be totaled, which means it is either beyond repair or so damaged that it is not worth fixing. What happens if your car is totaled in a car accident? Here’s what you need to know:

How does an insurance company decide if your car is totaled?

Generally, a car is totaled when the cost of necessary repairs is greater than the actual cash value (ACV) of the car. However, the insurance company may declare that your car is totaled even when the cost of the car’s repairs are less than the ACV. Each state has its own laws regarding how insurance companies can determine if a car is totaled or not. In California, an insurance company will use this formula, known as the Total Loss Formula (TLF):

Cost of Repairs + Salvage Value ≥ Actual Cash Value

If the cost of the car’s repairs combined with the salvage value of the car is greater than or equal to the actual cash value, then the car is totaled.

What happens after an insurance company declares your car is totaled?

If your car is totaled, the insurance company will offer you a check for the ACV of the vehicle, which you can use to purchase a new vehicle. If you accept the offer, the insurance company will get to keep your vehicle so they can sell scrap metal or any parts that are still functional. If you don’t believe the offer is fair, meaning you think the car is worth more than what was offered, let your attorney handle the negotiations with your insurance company.

Many people have a hard time letting go of their cars, even after they are totaled. Some people may think that it’s worth it to repair the damage, while others are just too attached to say goodbye. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up your car just because it is totaled. If you want to keep your vehicle, the insurance company will pay you the total loss minus the salvage value. You can then either repair the car on your own or sell it.

Don’t make this decision without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today for the legal guidance that you need to recover compensation after a car accident. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com .

By James Rush 05 Sep, 2017

Believe it or not, many children are injured while at school. In fact, over 200,000 children are rushed to the emergency room every year with playground-related injuries, and many more are injured in other ways while on school grounds. Who is liable when a child is injured at school? Here’s what parents need to know:

Intentional vs. Unintentional

The first thing that parents must determine is whether the injuries occurred because of an intentional act or an accident . If the act was intentional—such as a classmate or school employee physically attacking your child—then parents may be able to recover compensation from the aggressor or the aggressor’s parents. The school can also be held liable if the aggressor was an employee or a bully that the school failed to discipline.

If the injuries occurred as a result of an accident, the school can be held liable under certain circumstances. For example, if the accident occurred because your child was not properly supervised or because of a hazardous condition on the school property, the school may be responsible.

Public vs. Private Schools

Your legal options will depend on whether the school is public or private. If the school is private, the personal injury claim will typically proceed like any other. You should contact an attorney to begin the process right away.

However, recovering compensation from a public school is much more complicated. Public schools are government entities that often have legal immunity. This does not mean that the school district can never be held liable, but it does mean they can only be held liable in certain situations.

There is a certain procedure that must be followed in order to pursue a claim against a public school, which is why it’s imperative to work with an attorney who has experience handling these cases. It’s also important to note that you will not have as much time to file a claim if it is against a public school. Whereas you typically have two years to file a personal injury claim, if the at fault party is protected by the government’s immunity, you must notify them within six months. If you don’t follow the exact procedure that is required to file a claim against a public school, the claim may be thrown out.

Has your child been injured at school? If so, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush is an experienced personal injury attorney who will aggressively fight to recover compensation for your child. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com today.

By James Rush 02 Sep, 2017

In a perfect world, the at-fault party’s insurance company would quickly compensate you for your injuries so you could move on with your life and cover expenses related to the car accident. But unfortunately, that rarely happens. In some cases, the company may not offer you any compensation at all. Why? Here are some of the many reasons why an insurance company may deny your car accident claim:

No Medical Documentation

The insurance adjuster will not believe that you are injured as a result of the car accident unless you have proof in the form of medical records. If you did not seek medical attention after an accident immediately after an accident, there’s no way to prove that the injuries exist and that they were sustained in the collision. Without this proof, the insurance company has no reason to compensate you.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Even if you have medical records that show your injuries, compensation is not guaranteed. One reason your claim may be denied even with medical records is because of a pre-existing condition. For instance, if you had a back injury prior to getting into the accident, the insurance company may argue that your back pain is due to the pre-existing condition and not the collision. If you can prove that the injury worsened because of the accident, then the insurance company should not deny your claim.

Terms of the Policy

Sometimes, a claim can be denied because of the terms of the insurance policy. For example, each policy includes information on how soon an accident must be reported. If the accident was not reported within the timeframe outlined in the policy, the insurance company can deny the claim.

The claim may also be denied if the at-fault driver stopped making insurance payments prior to the accident. If the policy was not in effect on the date of the accident, the company has no obligation to compensate you for your injuries. However, if the at-fault driver did not stop making payments until after the accident, the insurance company must cover the damages caused by the collision.

A denial is not the end of the legal road for car accident victims. An attorney may be able to help you in the event that your car accident claim has been denied.

If the at-fault party’s insurance company has denied your car accident claim, don’t give up hope. Instead, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. Hiring a respected attorney like James Rush will let the insurance company know that you are serious about recovering compensation. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com today.

By James Rush 31 Aug, 2017

If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s very likely that you will receive a phone call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The person on the other end of the line is an insurance adjuster, who is responsible for investigating the accident, determining liability, and settling with the victims. His first task will be to ask you to consent to being recorded while you talk about the accident and your injuries. But, it’s important for you to know that it’s never a good idea to give a recorded statement to the insurance company.

Why does an insurance adjuster want your statement?

The insurance adjuster would like to hear your side of the story so he has a more complete picture of the events leading up to an accident. The statements made by you and the other party will be used, along with other evidence, to determine exactly what happened and who was at fault.

Why should you not give a statement to the insurance adjuster?

The insurance adjuster may seem like he has good intentions, but remember he does not have your best interests in mind. One of the reasons why he wants you to make a statement is so he can try to get you to slip up and say something that can be used against you in your case. The insurance adjuster may try to bait you into admitting something that you otherwise would not have said. For instance, he may say “So, it seems as if you might have been distracted while making that turn,” or “I’m happy to hear you weren’t seriously injured.” These statements have a purpose. The adjuster says these things with the hope that you will agree to them while being recorded. If you do, the insurance adjuster can say you admitted fault or you agreed that your injuries were not serious.

These may seem like minor mistakes, but they can significantly affect the amount of compensation you are able to recover in your claim.

How can an attorney help?

It’s recommended that you do not speak to an insurance adjuster without talking to an attorney first. Your attorney may suggest that you submit a written statement instead of consenting to a recorded statement. In this case, he will help you prepare a detailed statement regarding your case. If your attorney does allow you to give a recorded statement, he will thoroughly prepare you prior to the call and step in during the conversation if needed.

Has an insurance adjuster contacted you? If so, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush will not let you make the mistake of saying the wrong thing to the insurance adjuster. Instead, he will ensure the insurance adjuster understands the severity of your injuries and the impact the injuries have had on your life. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com today.

By James Rush 29 Aug, 2017

At some point after an accident, an insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will get in touch with you to discuss the collision. You may see nothing wrong with answering his questions, but any personal injury attorney will tell you that it’s best to let a lawyer communicate with the insurance company instead of doing it on your own. Why? Insurance adjusters aren’t always upfront and honest with car accident victims. Here’s what the insurance adjuster won’t tell you after a car accident:

Their goal is to settle with you for as little as possible.

Insurance adjusters are skilled negotiators that will try to convince you to settle for as little as possible . They can do this by trying to get you to accept partial fault for the accident or by questioning the extent of your injuries. An adjuster may also try to pressure you into quickly accepting the first offer so you don’t have time to calculate the true value of your claim or meet with an attorney.

You don’t have to give a record statement.

During the first phone call, the insurance adjust will probably ask you if you want to give a recorded statement regarding the accident. The insurance adjuster may try to make you believe that you have to give a statement if you want to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. But, this is not the case. Insurance adjusters want you to give a recorded statement so they can try to take your words out of context and use them against you. Because they want you to make a statement, they will never tell you that you have the option of saying no.

They don’t want to go to court.

Insurance adjusters do not want you to know that they do not want to take your case to court. If the case goes to court, the insurance company has to spend a significant amount of money on legal representation, which is something that they want to avoid at all costs. But, an insurance adjuster doesn’t want you to know about this fear. If you do, then you will be able to use it to your advantage by threatening that you will take the case to court if they don’t make a more attractive offer to you.

Another thing the insurance company won’t tell you? It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer. If you have been injured, contact James Rush at Rush Injury Law today. James Rush knows exactly how to handle negotiations with an insurance adjuster and won’t back down until he recovers every dime of compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 415-897-4801 or fill out the online form on our website www.rushinjurylaw.com today.

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