Car accident cases move through different stages during the legal process to come to a resolution. No two cases are the same, which can make it challenging to know what to expect. It can feel especially overwhelming if you need to go to an auto accident hearing.
A car accident hearing in Seattle is what happens if you are unable to resolve your case with an insurance claim. This usually involves your personal injury attorney filing a lawsuit that will result in a court hearing to resolve the case.
Like any step of the legal process regarding auto accidents, you want to ensure you are prepared. In this article, we will be outlining how you can prepare for this hearing to get the best result for your case. At NBF Accident Law, we hear you, and our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
The central part of the auto accident hearing involves presenting evidence on both sides. If both parties have not come to a resolution, this gives both the opportunity to show why the other may be at fault.
Your auto accident attorney will present evidence on your behalf that backs up your case. This can include things like:
- Witness interviews
- Medical expert interviews
- Medical records
- Accident reports
- Pictures of damages
Your lawyer may also present other forms of evidence that they believe will support your case. In many instances, both you and the other driver will be cross-examined to present additional details of the case. After the judge and jury have heard both sides, a decision will be made.
Speak With Your Attorney
You have most likely already been discussing the details of your auto accident case with your personal injury attorney. But it is also important to discuss the specific details of your hearing with them beforehand.
Your attorney has gone through this process before and knows what to expect. They will already have an idea of what the defendant will ask you and how you should respond to strengthen your lawsuit.
Going over the questions and the answers you should give will help prepare you so that your cross-examination is beneficial. Practicing this with your attorney can also help ease any feelings of stress or anxiety you may feel about this process.
Understand Courtroom Etiquette
If you are going to court for any reason, you need to understand how to behave since certain etiquette is expected. This is part of being courteous to the judge and jury, but it is also essential to look professional and respectful.
The main things you need to remember about courtroom etiquette are to be on time and always address the judge as your honor. Food and drinks are strictly prohibited, and you should avoid chewing gum or having mints.
It is also important to stand when you speak directly to the judge and stand whenever the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. Never interrupt the judge or anyone else in the courtroom since you will usually have an opportunity to respond to what is being said.
Electronic devices are allowed in the courtroom, but they should be silent, and you do not want to use your phone during the proceedings. All the evidence you and your lawyer need should be easily accessible in documents so you aren’t looking at electronic devices.
Who is a Car Accident Hearing Presented to in Seattle?
States have different systems for auto accident hearings, with some being heard and tried by a judge or jury. In Washington, your car accident and personal injury cases will go before a jury to be tried.
After both parties have presented their side of the accident with evidence, the jury will make their decision. This decision will involve deciding who is at fault for the accident and how much compensation the insurance company awards the victim.
To get the desired compensation, you and your lawyer need to focus on presenting evidence around damages. This includes property damage to your vehicle or personal possessions and physical damage.
Compensation can help cover property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses. It can also cover quality of life degradation and long-term care costs as a result of the accident.
How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit?
After getting into an auto accident, you need to file a car insurance claim as soon as possible. Many insurance companies will set a deadline for this that could range from a few days to a few weeks after the accident occurred.
If your claim has progressed to a lawsuit, you must adhere to Washington’s statute of limitations. According to these limitations, you need to file your lawsuit within three years of the accident occurring, or it will no longer be eligible. If you are filing this lawsuit on behalf of someone who is deceased, you have three years after the date of their death.
Keep in mind that the sooner you file a lawsuit, the better. Moving forward with this quickly ensures evidence is still fresh and nothing is lost over time. For example, if you wait too long, witnesses may no longer be available or may not accurately remember how the accident occurred.
Hire a Washington Auto Accident Attorney
It is easy to become overwhelmed by the idea of an auto accident hearing if you don’t know what to expect. But with a little preparation and assistance from your attorney, this is not a complicated process.
At NBF Accident Law, we aim to achieve the best possible results for victims of accidents by fighting for them with purpose, listening better, being available and communicative, and representing our clients with courage and integrity. We fight purposefully to defend your rights and ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve.
If you need representation in an auto accident hearing, contact us today by scheduling your first consultation online or call us directly at 206-923-8888.