​Going to Court After a Trucking Accident

Personal Injury Attorneys Blog

If you are in one of the approximately 100,000 wrecks involving a large commercial vehicle each year, you may wonder if you must go to court to obtain compensation.

Going to court can mean missing time from work and family events and additional travel expenses. Not to mention that some people may find court a stressful experience they would rather avoid.

Your decision to file a truck accident lawsuit may depend, in whole or in part, on whether you will need to appear in court. While there is no way any truck accident lawyer can guarantee a court appearance will not be necessary, there are circumstances that make it more likely to be necessary.

How Truck Accident Cases Typically Resolve?

truck accident lawyer in Richmond, Virginia areaMost personal injury lawsuits are resolved through a settlement agreement. In a settlement agreement, you and the other party or parties agree to resolve the legal dispute with compensation to you. Truckers, trucking companies, and insurers see settlements as opportunities to mitigate and control losses and expenses.

Similarly, there are benefits to injury victims in settling their cases. While their compensation award may be lower than what a jury would award, it is a specific and guaranteed sum. Not only this, but injury victims typically receive the agreed-on compensation award much faster than they would if their case had gone to court.

With a settlement, neither you nor the other party will likely go to court. Your truck accident lawyer will be able to negotiate the terms of your settlement and memorialize those terms with the other party without you needing to take time off of work or away from home to go to a court hearing.

When Trucking Lawsuits Do Not Settle?

Settling a case requires two agreeable parties. If you and the other party cannot agree on the terms by which your suit should settle, then your case will need to be resolved differently. This often means you will need to attend one or more court hearings to advance your case and continue seeking compensation.

There are a few frequently encountered reasons why settlements cannot be reached. These reasons include:

Someone Questions Fault

If available evidence does not clearly show that the other party is at fault, the other party may be willing to risk an adverse ruling at trial.

In this circumstance, the party believes it has a greater chance of prevailing in the case and facing no liability. Therefore, in the party’s estimation, it is more costly to pay any compensation than it is to incur the expenses and risk of a trial.

This possible outcome underscores the need not to take anything for granted in your trucking accident case. Instead, you should retain legal counsel and have your truck accident lawyer thoroughly investigate your case.

There Is No Agreement on Compensation

Naturally, you want to maximize the compensation you receive for your injuries and losses. It is also understandable that the other party wants to minimize the compensation they must pay you. Usually, you and the other party can figure an amount between these extremes and settle.

If not, however, you owe it to your interests to not take an offer that is too low and be left responsible for significant uncovered medical expenses and other losses. Similarly, the other party owes it to their interests not to pay an excessive compensation figure that is not justified.

So an inability to reach an agreement as to the value of your case can cause there to be no settlement agreement.

What to Know About Going to Court?

You may not want to go to court, but in most truck accident cases, you won’t spend much time there. Your truck accident lawyer will tell you when you need to go, but in most cases, the only times you will need to appear in court are when you are being deposed and when your case goes to trial.

You may always have some nerves about appearing in court.

However, to better prepare for a court appearance:

  • Confirm your hearing time and when and where to meet your truck accident lawyer
  • Get a good night’s rest the night before and avoid significant disruptions to your routine
  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the courthouse and find a parking spot
  • Advise your truck accident lawyer immediately if an emergency arises and you cannot attend court
  • If possible, leave children at home in the care of your spouse or a suitable adult

If you go to court in your truck wreck case, the parties do not agree on contested issues, and you possess unique knowledge that the parties wish to hear. Most truck accident lawyers respect your time and will ask you come to court only when you absolutely must.

Once you are in court, following certain rules can help you have a more positive experience.

These rules include:

  • If you testify, listen to the question carefully before answering so you know what information the questioner is seeking
  • Try not to get defensive or hostile if the other attorney asks you questions
  • Always be respectful to the court and address the judge as “Your Honor”
  • Tell the truth in all of your answers

Attend any preparation sessions your attorney holds before going to court so you can better know what to expect and how to respond.

Having Legal Counsel When Going to Court Is a Good Idea?

Edward McNelis - Attorney for Personal Injury Cases near Virginia area
Edward McNelis, Personal Injur Lawyer in Virginia area

A skilled lawyer can try to settle your case and avoid court. However, an attorney may not always keep you from having to attend court hearings. A Virginia personal injury lawyer’s advice and assistance can help you navigate your case’s court appearances successfully and with minimal stress.