Virginia Car Accident Trial Process

The Virginia car accident trial process begins after a complaint is filed and served upon the defendant, they are required to answer the complaint. The defendant may answer this in a variety of ways including filing an answer or filing a response that says the accusation was false. There may be a period of discovery in which the parties ask each other questions and try to find out more about the case and then the case may proceed to trial status.

There may be a variety of different things that happen until that discovery is worked out. This process includes filing motions, legal arguments, witnesses, depositions. The case can ultimately resolve through negotiation, through mediation or arbitration or through a trial. In a Virginia car accident case, the person has the right to request a jury trial and an experienced car accident lawyer. However, the person may have to request a bench trial so that the case is presented to a judge rather than a jury.

Focus on Liability

There are many important elements in a Virginia car accident trial process, but certainly, liability and who is responsible and why and the damages, to what extent the party was injured and how those are connected to the wrongdoing of the at-fault party. Those are the primary things that an attorney is going to focus on.

Different attorneys will focus on all sorts of different things in trying to make their case the strongest including how they can make their case, the judge or the jury relates easiest to their client. There are a lot of different things that vary from attorney to attorney on style on how this will happen.

Types of Trials

Depending on the type of case, the Virginia car accident trial process may unfold as a bench trial or a jury trial. All cases that originate in the General District Court are bench trials. There are no opportunities for a jury trial in the lower court. Cases in the circuit court, a person has the opportunity to have a bench trial or a jury trial. Whether or not a bench trial or jury trial is in the client’s best interest is something that they talk about with their attorney.

Opening and Closing Statements

The plaintiff is the injured party who carries the burden of proof in a Virginia car accident case. This means that in nearly every step of the way, they are going first. They are the party that is required to present evidence first, required to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence in many cases, and in some cases, by clear and convincing evidence. The plaintiff is the one that is required to put on evidence and they get to present their evidence first.

Both parties are going to make a closing statement. In the Virginia car accident trial process, because the plaintiff gets to bear the burden of proof, the plaintiff goes first in the closing, the defendant goes second and then plaintiff gets to make a rebuttal at the end, so the plaintiff gets the last word.

Impact of Multiple Defendants on the Litigation Process

Each defendant gets to present their own version of the defense in the Virginia car accident trial process for multiple defendants. Having multiple defendants could have an impact on the outcome of the case because there may be an issue of contribution with joint and several liabilities and other factors that may impact the case.

There are multiple ways to represent multiple defendants. There are separate trials against both the defendants meaning the cases are presented separately. The attorney can put evidence of both parties’ liability and both parties culpability or being responsible for damages. There are a variety of ways this can be approached.

Virginia Litigation Process

The length of time from the date the claim was filed until the date of trial varies greatly on the jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions pride themselves on trying cases very quickly which means proceeding almost immediately to trial and continuing to move forward with the case. In other jurisdictions, there may be a wait of 12 to 18 months or even more to get a trial date depending on the amount, the type of trial requested, the length of trial requested and the sophistication of the case.

There are a variety of factors that may make the Virginia car accident trial process longer to resolve than others. Generally, those factors would include the sophistication of the case, the amount of witnesses and evidence that would need to be presented, among other things. There are definitely a lot of other different case specific factors.

Virginia Car Accident Trial Process