While the details of car accident cases vary widely, the basic litigation process in the Wichita area is essentially the same in every case. Mike Wyatt, car accident injury attorney at Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley Injury Attorneys, explains each step of the car accident litigation process below.
(1) Plaintiff Files A Petition
The plaintiff’s (person bringing the complaint) attorney lays out the allegations in a petition to the court, defining the scope of the case. They describe, in as much detail as possible, what the defendant (person being accused) did and why they’re negligent.
(2) Defendant Files An Answer To The Petition
In many cases, the defendant’s insurance company will provide an attorney who will file a document that lays out answers to the specific complaints in the petition.
(3) Scheduling Conference With The Court
Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant meet with the court to lay out the overall timeline of the case, including important dates and deadlines.
(4) Written Discovery
Both parties exchange written questions and documents that pertain to the case such as:
- Medical records
- Motor vehicle accident reports
- Photos of the accident and injuries received from the accident
Several types of depositions could occur based on the details of the case and the information each party wants to ascertain.
- Party depositions – The plaintiff and defendant are deposed by opposing attorneys, offering their sworn testimony under oath regarding the details of the case. They are then cross-examined to ensure the availability of as much detail as possible.
- Witness depositions – If needed, those people identified as potential witnesses to the accident will be deposed and cross-examined under oath by both attorneys.
- Expert witness depositions – If relevant to the case, expert witnesses may be retained to give their opinion on details such as the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries or the legal liability of the defendant.
(6) Pre-Trial Process
If the case hasn’t been resolved by this point, both parties lay out the issues for the court to consider and agree on the issues the parties can line up for a jury trial.
(7) Jury Trial
Most car accident litigation will not make it to a jury trial. However, if the case does proceed to this step, it will be presented to a jury of 12 people. They will decide the outcome of the case, if there is legal liability of fault, what damages occurred, and the amount of money owed to the plaintiff.
Contact a Wichita Personal Injury Lawyer Immediately
If you’ve sustained a personal injury as the result of a car accident in the Wichita area, call the attorneys at Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley today. With more than 75 years of combined litigation experience, they will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.