Car Accident Court and Trial Process in Georgia

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 11.26.23

Category: Car Accident

Car Accident Court Cases & Trials

Most car accident cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement. But understanding how a car accident court case works and building the strongest case possible helps you feel more confident and improves your odds of getting max compensation.

Where Are Car Accident Trials Held in Georgia?

Wooden court roomCar accident civil claims and trials are held across Georgia Magistrate and Superior courts, depending on the value of your claim. Here are a few car accident courts and trial locations across Georgia:

Georgia Car Accident Court and Trial Process

By understanding how the car accident court and trial process works in Georgia, you can better prepare yourself for what to expect and how to handle your claim every step of the way. Here are the steps you can expect after filing your Georgia car accident claim:

Jury Selection

In most car accident cases, the jury decides liability. The jury selection process allows your injury lawyer to ask prospective jurors questions so they can get to know them. If a potential juror has a bias, they may be dismissed from the trial.

Opening Statements

After the jury has been selected, both the plaintiff and the defendant will make opening statements. The plaintiff’s attorney will generally go first, given that the burden of proof falls on them.

Presentation of Evidence

Once both sides have made opening statements, they will each have the opportunity to present evidence that supports their case. The burden of proof for civil car accident claims is based on a preponderance of the evidence. This means it needs to show that the defendant is more likely than not responsible.

For example, your lawyer might present reports by an accident reconstructionist, ask witnesses to give their testimony, and provide other supporting evidence to prove your case.

Closing Arguments

After both parties have presented and challenged each other’s evidence, both attorneys will present their closing arguments. Here, the plaintiff’s attorney will go over the presented evidence and how it proves the defendant’s liability for the victim’s car accident injuries.

Jury Deliberation

Following closing arguments, the jury will deliberate. This is where they will review the evidence in detail. To determine whether the defendant should be found liable. Generally, juries can return verdicts in as few as several hours but can last for days or longer.

The Jury Delivers a Verdict

After jury deliberations, they will reach a verdict. Then the judge is notified that a decision has been made, and everyone will return to the courtroom. The judge will read the verdict aloud to be entered in court records.

Car Accident Trials: Issues to Beware Of

Several complications could arise as you seek compensation in a Georgia car accident trial. Under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, the statute of limitations is just two years. Failure to file before this deadline will result in the dismissal of your claim.

Sharing fault will also affect the outcome, as Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system under O.C.G.A. 51-12-33. You can share up to 50% of the liability for the accident before being barred from financial recovery. But expect your injury settlement to be reduced proportionately.

Car Accident Judgements & Settlements

If you’ve won your car accident lawsuit and the court awarded damages, this is a judgment. Depending on the jurisdiction and whether they wish to appeal, the losing party will be responsible for this amount.

At any point, before or during your car accident trial, you may be able to enter into a settlement agreement with the insurance company or liable party. Generally, once a settlement has been reached, the payment must be made within thirty days. If you do not collect your settlement before this time, you may be entitled to interest.

If either party is unhappy with the result of a civil car accident trial, they will have the opportunity to file an appeal. The appeals process can lengthen the time it takes to resolve the case considerably.

Georgia Car Accident Court and Trial F.A.Q.

Although the court and trial process for car accidents in Georgia may be intimidating, learning as much as you can helps prepare you for what’s to come. Here are some of the most common questions regarding the Georgia car accident court and trial process.

1. When Should I Call a Lawyer?

Immediately after being stabilized by emergency responders, you should contact a Marietta car accident attorney.

Not only can a lawyer gather time-sensitive evidence and establish liability, but they can represent your interests during insurance negotiations and prepare your case for trial as well. If you hope to maximize your compensation, bringing your Georgia car accident case to court may be the right option for you and your family.

2. What Do People Wear to Court?

When you’re going to court, men should wear a long-sleeved button-down shirt with slacks or a suit and tie, while women should wear a conservative dress, slacks, or business suit. You want to appear professional and dressed for the occasion.

3. Will There Always be a Jury?

There will almost always be a jury in a car accident trial unless both parties agree to a bench trial. Bench trials are heard exclusively by the judge, but juries hear most car accident trials.

Get Help with Your Case

When your life has been significantly affected by someone else’s negligence, you can hold them accountable and recover maximum compensation. Contact an experienced Georgia attorney at The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. for help through every step of the car accident claims court and trial process.

Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation when you complete our online contact form or call our office at 404-596-8044.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.