Oklahoma City Car Accident Litigation
The Oklahoma City car accident litigation process can provide a way for accident victims to recover compensation for their injuries. This process can be complex, but dedicated car accident attorneys could guide you through the process. They could handle every step on your behalf, from initial negotiations through trial, and fight tirelessly for a positive resolution. Call today to discuss your situation.
First Steps in a Car Accident Case
The Oklahoma City car accident litigation process begins with filing the lawsuit and serving the defendant. This can usually be done by certified mail, but some people are hard to track down even with the address, so a process server would be needed. The case needs to be served within 180 days after it was filed.
Once it is served, the defendant and their insurance company have 30 days to file an answer. After an answer is filed, both sides will start initiating the discovery requests, which are written questions to uncover the facts of the case. After the discovery requests, there will be depositions of witnesses, the defendant, the plaintiff, and the treating doctors who are relevant to the case.
If the case goes to trial, it could be either a jury trial or bench trial. Most of these cases are jury trials.
The first step in a jury trial is jury selection. the judge is going to give an initial opening jury instruction and then do what is called voir dire. Voir dire is basically questioning the jury. Initially, the judge will ask some basic questions of the jurors, including where they are from, what their names are, where they work, and if they know anybody who is involved in this case.
The plaintiff’s and the defendant’s attorneys will do the same type of questioning to find an impartial jury. For example, if a juror has had a bad car accident experience and was not happy with the insurance company, they are likely not a fair juror for the defendant on that type of case.
Opening Statements and Questioning Witnesses
After the jury is picked, the judge will read a few instructions about the rest of the case, and then the plaintiff’s attorney will first give their opening statement. This is generally just a summary of the case and the expected evidence. It introduces the jury with an introduction to what they should expect to hear and what the issues in the case are. The defense will have their opening statement after the plaintiff.
After the opening statements, the plaintiff’s attorney will question the witnesses first. After this, they will generally pass the witnesses on to the defense attorney, who will do a cross-examination of each witness. After the plaintiff, the defense presents their case, which may include expert witnesses from the medical field.
How Multiple Defendants Affect a Trial
If there are multiple defendants, the litigation process depends on the judge and the type of case. The plaintiff will still get to go first, but there will generally be a specific time allotment for each defense attorney to do cross-examination.
Multiple defendants may influence the outcome of the case in that it can make the trial go longer. It depends on why there are two defendants. If the defendants both have two doctors who are saying that the same thing, it may hold more weight for the jury versus the one treating doctor for the plaintiff.
Length of a Trial
Oklahoma City car accident litigation usually takes about a year from the date a case is filed to go to trial. The trial itself would generally take 1-2 days. The length of a case can vary depending on how many witnesses there are and any complications in the medical injuries. For example, if the plaintiff had multiple surgeries with many different doctors, there might be numerous witnesses and testimony which can affect the length of a case.
Let an Oklahoma City Attorney Handle the Litigation Process
Most injury victims do not want to be involved with Oklahoma City car accident litigation, but they are doing it to get a fair recovery for what they have suffered. Many people would prefer a settlement, but sometimes they need to get a lawsuit filed just to get a settlement offer.
Insurance company attorneys can become difficult to work with, and they may resist offering a fair deal. For the best chance at a positive outcome in your case, let an experienced car accident attorney take over. You could focus on healing while they handle the litigation of your case.