5 Tips for Taking an Auto Accident Case to Court

The prospect of arguing a case in court is daunting for some people. The combination of the unknown combined with intricate matters of detail and dispute are often enough to make seasoned litigators think twice, especially if the case involves a car accident.

Despite the uninviting but all too common prospect of prolonged haggling over a couple hundred dollars worth of paint, it can be tempting to just give up and move on. However, there is no reason to pay for something that wasn’t your fault. If you have a case, here are some things that will help you present it while preserving your advantages.

Photographs Are Good 

In this day and age, where everyone is carrying a high resolution camera with unlimited film, there is no excuse for arguing a traffic case without a full gallery of evidentiary photographs. Not only will this give you practically incontrovertible evidence if you are not at fault, but it will give you an enormous advantage if you are arguing before a jury. There is nothing that will hold the attention of a court like a nine-foot-wide picture of proof you weren’t at fault.

Video Is Better 

It isn’t often you can capture an accident on live video, but if you happen to have a dash camera, there is a very good chance you may have captured everything you need to win the case long before you get to trial. Video is a ticket to a Perry Mason moment, especially if your counterparty isn’t paying attention during discovery. Even if you don’t get a dash camera view of the accident, you can always capture witness statements on video afterwards.

File On Time

Nothing will sink you faster than being late with a filing, especially in a high-volume court like the small claims division. Make absolutely sure you know what your priorities are, what the deadlines are and exactly what needs to be where and when. Learn how to use certified mail and how to get your paperwork to court with next-day delivery if necessary. Keep a paper trail of everything you send and receive.

Make Friends 

If you are a plaintiff or a defendant, the Clerk of the Court is your new best friend, even if you’ve never met them before. Find out who they are, when they work and strike up a correspondence with them. Use their name whenever possible. Make sure they’ve heard of you before you get to the main event. The alternative is to have a Clerk of the Court who is your adversary, and every lawyer alive will tell you that is a first class ticket to a big capital letter L.

When In Doubt 

Nobody is expecting the average person to become a star litigator. It is for this reason most courts will show considerable leniency and will give wide latitude to questions. If you are confused or are not sure how to proceed, answer a motion or respond to an objection, ask the judge. Their role is to make sure you have a fair opportunity to present your case, and questions are a part of that process.

Simple court cases are not that hard to navigate, provided you have all the information you need before you begin. If you feel you need advice, there are law firms and legal aid services that will be happy to provide assistance.