Car Accident Court and Trial Process in Georgia
Here's what to expect if you bring a car accident claim to civil court in Georgia.
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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?
Car 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:
Magistrate Court of Fulton County
185 Central Ave. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Cobb County Magistrate Court
32 Waddell St. SE
Marietta, GA 30090
Civil Court and Magistrate Court of Richmond County, Georgia
735 James Brown Blvd. #1400
Augusta, GA 30901
Hall County Magistrate Court
225 Green St. SE
Gainesville, GA 30501
Chatham County Magistrate Court
133 Montgomery St. #303
Savannah, GA 31401
Clayton County Magistrate Court
9151 Tara Blvd.
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Clarke County Magistrate Court
325 E Washington St. #240
Athens, GA 30601
Coweta County Superior Court
72 Greenville St. S
Newnan, GA 30263
Georgia Superior Court
136 Pryor St. SW # C515
Atlanta, GA 30303
Fulton County Superior Court
7741 Roswell Rd. NE #234a
Atlanta, GA 30350
Henry County Superior Court
1 Courthouse SQ
McDonough, GA 30253
Cobb County Superior Court
70 Haynes St.
Marietta, GA 30090
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:
In most car accident cases, the jury decides liability. The jury selection process allows your 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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 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.