Trial Process in Cook County Car Accident Cases

A car accident case proceeds in a similar manner to all other civil court cases. There are two parties, called the plaintiff (the injured party seeking damages) and the defendant.

There are many technical rules which apply to the trial process in Cook County car accident cases. A trial is best left to an experienced car accident attorney because it is nearly impossible for a person without extensive education in the law to proceed with success.

Opening Statements

In a car accident case, the plaintiff has the first opportunity to address the jury regarding their case and damages, and they have the burden of proof on all aspects of the case. This means the plaintiff must prove all elements of their case by a preponderance of evidence. Because of this extra burden placed on the plaintiff, their lawyer has the opportunity to present an opening statement first.

Closing Statements

After all the evidence is presented in court, lawyers have an opportunity to present closing arguments, which are designed to persuade the judge or jury to find in the plaintiff’s favor. Because the plaintiff has the burden of proof, they have the opportunity to present their closing argument first. After the plaintiff has their turn, the defendant can present their closing argument, and then the plaintiff’s lawyer has two or three minutes to rebut anything the defendant may have presented in court.

Judge's gavel

Cases With Multiple Defendants

When there are multiple defendants in a Cook County car accident case, trial process says the plaintiff always goes first. Usually, the defendants will agree among themselves as to the order they proceed thereafter. However, if they are unable to come to an agreement, a judge can make that determination.

There are many strategic reasons as to why a plaintiff’s lawyer may or may not want multiple defendants in an auto collision case. They may have multiple clients in the case but could settle with one or more of them and proceed against the remaining defendants. These strategic decisions are best left to trial court.

Additionally, having multiple defendants may also increase the availability of money towards settlements. With multiple defendants contributing varying amounts of money, a case may be resolved for an amount which any single defendant may have been unwilling to pay.

The Role of a Car Accident Lawyer

Handling a trial is one of the most complex jobs a personal injury lawyer can do. The strategy of every trial is unique, and the question of whether there is one defendant or multiple defendants will impact the strategy of the trial attorney. When there are multiple defendants in a case, they may point the finger at each other, which can in help the plaintiff obtain a verdict in their favor.

Length of the Car Accident Trial

The trial process in Cook County car accident cases usually moves slowly, taking at least 18 months after the filing of the lawsuit. Even if a case proceeds quickly, there are still inherent difficulties in getting a prompt trial date. The complexity of the case, the nature of the lawyers involved trying the case, the style of the judge, and the complexity and the amount of evidence all play a significant part in how long a trial will last and affect the amount of time it takes between filing a lawsuit and obtaining a trial date.

Work With a Lawyer in Cook County During the Trial Process of a Car Accident Case

Because the trial process in Cook County car accident cases is long and complex, you have a much better chance at a favorable outcome when you work with an experienced attorney from McCready Law. A lawyer could work to ensure all paperwork and evidence is ready for trial, allowing you to focus on your healing. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.