Go to Top
Text Us! (443) 629-4878

Click To Call


Click To Email


Click To Find


Client Reviews


Case Results


Auto Accidents


Workers Comp


Attorney Profile


Areas Of Practice


Our Blogs

Auto Accident Trial Information

I will get you the compensation you deserve

Free Initial Consultation and NO Fees or Costs Unless We Win

To someone unfamiliar with the legal process, understanding things such as record expungements and stets may seem as impossible as reading a foreign language. An attorney, well-versed in auto accident trial legal jargon and trained to use these terms to your advantage, can reduce uncertainty and simplify the process. Lose the headache and worry by reading the vital auto accident trial information below and enlisting the help of an attorney.

Auto Accident Representation

Auto Accident Trial Information

To someone unfamiliar with the legal process, understanding things such as record expungements and stets may seem as impossible as reading a foreign language. An attorney, well-versed in legal jargon and trained to use these terms to your advantage, can reduce uncertainty and simplify the process. Lose the headache and worry by reading the vital trial info below and enlisting the help of an attorney.

Pre-Trial Procedures

After the demand package has been submitted to the insurance company, negotiations will take place between the attorney and the insurance carrier. After negotiations, it is hopeful that a reasonable settlement offer will be obtained. At that point, the settlement offer is conveyed to the client.

The client is not bound by a settlement offer made by the insurance company. Ultimately, the decision on settlement is up to the client and not up to the insurance company and/or lawyer.

It is important that the client listens to the lawyer with regard to any advice he gives concerning a settlement offer, whether favorable or not. Sometimes the insurance company makes offers that seem unacceptable to the attorney, however, it is the obligation of the attorney to at least present that offer to the client.

The attorney will then present the pros and cons of all offers to the client and will give his opinion whether the client should accept or reject the offer. After the attorney’s presentation, the client has the ultimate decision as to whether the offer is acceptable or not. Despite having this power of the final say, clients need to remember why they hire an attorney in the first place.

Because attorneys have substantial experience in handling these should give substantial weight to the recommendations of their attorney. The attorney will then make his recommendations with regard to those offers as well, however, ultimately the client can make a decision on whether they want to accept the money or not.

Trial Proceedings

A Circuit Court trial is similar to the District Court trial with the same questions. The main difference between a District Court trial and a Circuit Court trial is that Circuit Court trials usually involve a jury and the medicals records are usually deemed inadmissible unless the doctor comes in to testify. At a typical Circuit Court trial the lawyers will submit voir dire to the Judge in advance, to help the Judge pick a jury. Voir dires are questions each lawyer presents to the judge for him/her to ask the jurors, to help the lawyers learn more about the potential jurors.

The jury panel will then be brought in and will be asked a series of questions. After the questioning, the lawyers and their clients will pick a jury. In a Circuit Court civil trial, juries consist of six people and each party gets a certain amount of strikes to pick a mutually amenable jury. Once the jury has been selected, opening arguments are given and each lawyer, starting with the Plaintiff’s side, gives his/her opening statement which outlines each side’s theory of the case, as well as a brief outline of the injuries involved.

After opening arguments, the Plaintiff will then present his side of the case. First, the Plaintiff will testify after which he will present any witnesses on the issue of liability, as well as any witnesses on the issue of damages. At this point, any medical providers will be called as witnesses. At the end of the Plaintiff’s case motions, or legal arguments to the court as to what issues will be submitted to the jury, are made. If those motions are not granted, the Defendant will present his side of the case and will testify along with any witnesses, including medical experts. After this, both sides make motions again and the court makes a ruling on the motion.

The lawyers and the Judge then give the jury a set of instructions on the law of the particular case. This is the only opportunity the jury gets to hear what the law is with regard to your case. It provides them with a basic understanding of the law, so that they can synthesize their knowledge of the law with the evidence for your case to reach a decision, or verdict. Instructions in the case typically last approximately a half hour and then both lawyers give their closing arguments. After closing arguments, the case is then presented to the jury. The jury then deliberates on your case until they reach a verdict. Typically the jury has to decide on two issues, first, who is at fault and second, what (if any) injuries were sustained. Then the jury renders the verdict on your case.

A typical verdict sheet will look as follows:

  • Was the Defendant negligent?
  • Was the Plaintiff contributory negligent?
  • Was the Plaintiff injured?
  • What amount do you award, if any for medical expenses?
  • What amount do you award, if any for lost wages?
  • What amount do you award, if any for pain and suffering?

Trial Testifying

On your trial date in District Court your case will be scheduled along with five or ten other cases. Your case is a public trial, meaning anyone is entitled to view its proceedings. At least several people will be in attendance to hear your case, as other individuals will be waiting for their cases to be called. Once your case is called for trial, the party who has brought the case, known as the Plaintiff, will present his/her side.

Your Baltimore auto accident attorney will then call witnesses on your behalf and will call you to testify on your particular case. When you are called to testify, you will be asked a series of questions. Below are typical questions an attorney will ask as part of your trial.

You should know the answers to these questions when preparing to testify in your case.

Please state your name, address, age, marital status, amount of children (if any), years of schooling, place of employment, duration of employment at said place and type of work.

After asking these general background questions, your Baltimore auto accident attorney may then follow this basic train of thought:

Directing your attention to: the date of the car accident, where were you going on that particular day, where were coming from, what time you left, what route you took, how fast were you going, what lane you were in, what the traffic, weather and road conditions were like, what the speed limit was, how many passengers you had, number of surrounding vehicles, the time, the time you had to be where you were going, whether lateness was a factor, if you were in a hurry, if your radio was on, if anything was blocking your vision, or if there were any obstructions in the road.

After relaying this general background, you will be asked how the auto accident happened, at which time you will give your version as to how the accident happened.

After you explain how the accident happened, your attorney will ask you the following questions:

Were there any traffic control devices involved? What color was the light? Who had the stop sign or other traffic control device? What did the traffic control devices or signs say? What did the other driver do? How fast was he going? What did the other driver look like? What did the other car look like? What lane were you in at the time of the accident? Where was the point of impact? What efforts did you make to avoid the accident? What efforts did the other driver make to avoid the accident? Were there any other witnesses to the accident? Did the other driver have any passengers? Were there any other cars involved?

After describing how the auto accident happened you and your Baltimore auto accident attorney will then get into the injuries part of the case.

Potential questions include:

What happened to you inside the vehicle when the accident happened? Did any part of your body strike the inside of the vehicle? When did you first notice that you were hurt in the accident? What part of your body was injured as a result of the accident?

Explain the exact problem you were having with each part of your body when you first noticed you were hurt.

  1. Did you tell anyone you were injured at the scene?
  2. Did you speak to the police officer? What did you tell the police officer?
  3. Did you speak with the other party? What did you tell the other party?
  4. Was anyone else injured in the accident? What did they tell you? Was the other party injured in the accident?
  5. Describe the damage to your car.
  6. What medical treatment-if any-did you receive? Did you go to the emergency room? How did you get to the emergency room? Did you go to the emergency room right away or did you wait until the next day?
  7. If you went to the emergency room or doctor the next day, how did you feel that night?
  8. If you went to the emergency room the same day, how did you feel while you were in the ambulance?
  9. How did you feel while you were waiting in the emergency room at the hospital?
  10. What did they do for you at the hospital?
  11. What recommendations– if any– did they make at the hospital? Did they recommend that you follow up with any other treatment? Did they do any tests for you at the hospital? If so, describe those tests. Did they take any x-rays? Did they prescribe any medication?
  12. After you left the hospital, where did you go, how did you feel and did you receive any follow up medical treatment?
  13.  How did you feel between the time you went to the emergency room and the time you went for your follow up medical treatment?
  14. What do you typically do when you are not injured? How did this affect your ability to do those things after you were injured?
  15. Where did you go for follow up treatment? What did they do for you at the doctor’s office?
  16. Did they prescribe any treatment or give you any medication? Where did you get your prescriptions filled? Did they give you any medical devices?
  17. Did you wear those medical devices?
  18. What did the doctor’s examination consist of?
  19. How long was the doctor’s examination?
  20. Did you receive any physical therapy? Can you describe the types of physical therapy you had, how long each physical therapy treatment lasted and whether the physical therapy helped or not?
  21. Did you receive any surgery? Can you describe the surgery? Did the surgery help? How long was your medical treatment? Did you make a full recovery?
  22. Are you still having any present complaints? If so, what are those present complaints?
  23. Did you miss any time from work? If so, how much? How much money do you make when you work a full week? How much money did you lose as a result of the accident?
  24. Were you able to go back to your regular job after your medical treatment was completed?
  25. Did you incur any medical expenses? How much were those medical expenses?
  26. How did your auto accident affect your ability to work? Were you able to work? What is it about your job that you could not do as a result of your accident?
  27. How did the accident affect your normal home life? What activities at home were you not able to do that you normally did? Did you get any help to with those activities? If so, who helped you?
  28. Describe the pain that you were in. Describe the problem that you were having with each part of your body. Describe the limitations that you had with each part of your body and how it affected your ability to do your normal activities as well as your work activities.
  29. If you are having any permanent complaints, please describe those and describe any permanent limitations.

Prepare For District Court!

If it turns out that the case cannot be settled, a Baltimore auto accident attorney can be extremely helpful in pursuing the rest of a claim. The next part of the process, filing the claim in court, is done so that a judge and/or jury can determine the value of the claim. Baltimore auto accident attorneys are trained in preparing the necessary pleadings that need to filed in court. Cases less than $25,000 can be filed in the District Court.

The initial claim that is filed in court is either a Statement of Claim, which is filed in the District Court of Maryland, or a Complaint and Election for Jury Trial, which is filed in the Circuit Court. Any claim up to $30,000.00 can be filed in the District Court. There are no jury trials in the District Court. District Court is a fast and efficient way to resolve claims in that cases can typically be resolved within six to nine months, sometimes even quicker.

After the District Court case is filed, it is then necessary to serve the person who will now be known as the Defendant with the suit papers. The case will not go to trial until the Defendant has been properly served. If the Defendant can be served on the first attempt, the case will come up for trial promptly. If the Defendant is difficult to serve, the case can sometimes take a much longer period of time because he trial date will not be set until the Defendant has been served. Once the Defendant is properly served in the District Court, the attorney will file an answer and the parties will exchange fifteen questions that are known as Interrogatories.

Included in these fifteen questions are questions concerning date of birth, social security number, place of employment for the last five or ten years, prior health history, medical treatment due to the accident, prior accidents and facts regarding the accidents, and any witnesses that may be called. After Answers to Interrogatories are exchanged, the case will be scheduled for trial.

Prepare for Circuit Court!

If the initial claim that is filed in Court is for more than $30,000, then the case must be filed in the Circuit Court. In addition, all jury trials are in the Circuit Court. In the Circuit Court, trial dates are typically 1 year to 18 months away, which allow the parties ample time to investigate the liability issues and injuries more fully. This is conducted by interrogatories, deposititons, and independent medical evaluations.

Possible Verdicts

Possible verdicts

After you testify, the rest of your witnesses will be called to testify, to help bolster your case and, to be cross-examined by the defense attorney. At the end of your case the Defendant’s attorney will make a motion to dismiss your claim. If the Judge feels that you have presented a prima fascia case, meaning it is more likely than not that the accident happened the way you say it happened, your case will go forward. If the Judge feels that there is sufficient evidence at that time to find you at fault as a matter of law, then your case will be dismissed. If the motion to dismiss is denied, the Defendant will present his side of the case. The Defendant will testify and present any witnesses. Your attorney will then have the right to cross-examine those witnesses. At the end of the case both sides will have a chance to argue through their attorneys their version of the case and the damages involved. The Judge will then render a verdict.

Dealing with Defense Attorneys

These are the typical questions asked in a District Court case and these questions may also be asked in a Circuit Court case. After your Baltimore auto accident attorney asks you questions on direct examination, the defense attorney will then ask you questions on cross-examination.

The job of a good defense attorney is to try and confuse you on how the car accident happened and to convince the court that you were either 100 percent at fault or at least partially at fault. As was previously explained, in Maryland if you are even 1 percent at fault, you cannot recover as a Plaintiff. As part of his tactics, a good defense attorney will try to convince the judge or jury that you at least contributed partially if not totally to the fault in the accident.

The defense attorney will try to get you to admit that you were either speeding, not paying attention or otherwise distracted. He will make an effort to get you to admit that you in someway violated one of the rules of the road. The defense will go through similar questions that your attorney asked; however, he/she will ask them in a different manner.

Defense attorneys are allowed to ask leading questions that suggest the answer inside the question. The defense attorney will put words in your mouth and try to get you to agree with questions he/she asks that are in the form of statements or admissions.

Examples of these suggestive questions designed to catch you off-guard include:

Weren’t you looking directly at the light at the time of the accident? Were you not looking at your speed at the time of the accident? Do you really know how fast you were going at the time of the accident? Weren’t you talking to the passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident, therefore, not paying attention? Wasn’t the sun in your eyes?

In many of the cases filed in the District Court who is at fault is not necessarily the predominant issue, but rather the value of the case. In those cases, the defense attorney will focus his questions on your injuries to try and minimize what, if any, injuries you received and whether your medical treatment was necessary or not.

The defense attorney will ask questions about prior injuries to try and make it look like an injury you are now having is from something other than this particular accident. He/she will also try to make it look like you have filed many claims in the past, casting doubt on your credibility and attempting to prove that you file a claim every time you are in an accident, whether you have been injured or not.

The defense attorney may also ask you why you called your lawyer before you received any medical treatment, what doctor you consulted, why you did not go to your family doctor and how you were referred to that specific doctor.

Below is a list of typical questions posed by the defense when liability is agreed upon and the only issue is damages.

Have you been involved in any other accidents? If so, when, what parts of your body did you injure? Where did you receive your medical treatment? Did you have any continuing problems after you completed your treatment? Were you having any problems with those parts of your body prior to this particular accident? Have you had any other medical problems and who treated you for those problems? What caused those medical problems? Were you having any problems with those areas of your body prior to this particular accident? Have you filed any other claims before? If so, what parts of your body were injured? When were those claims, what treatment did you receive for those claims and did you recover any money for those claims? With regard to the accident you are suing for, what doctor treated you and who referred you to that doctor? When did you see that doctor? Why did you choose that particular doctor? What treatment did you receive? How long was each treatment? Why is there a gap in your treatment? Why did you miss your appointments? Did you get your prescriptions filled and if not, why not? Did you keep all of your medical appointments and if not, why not? How long did your treatment last? Did the treatment help? If the treatment didn’t help, why did you keep going? Do you have a criminal record?

After presenting your case, your medical expenses and medical reports will be submitted in District Court. In Circuit Court, the doctors must actually come into court to testify, while in District Court, the doctors are rarely called to testify. In matters under $15,000.00, medical reports and bills are automatically admissible as long as they are submitted when the original suit is filed, or up to sixty days prior to your court date.

Auto Accident – Sample Complaints

What does a typical complaint look like? There are many different types of auto accident complaints. The link below contains a couple of examples.

Depositions – Understanding Motives

When the lawyer is asking you a question, keep in mind the question itself may seem irrelevant, but the question’s importance lies in whether the question is relevant and could lead to relevant material. Questions that may seem irrelevant to you may seem pertinent to the lawyers involved in the case and may lead to information that relates to your particular case.

When the other lawyer asks the question, he/she doesn’t know whether the information you are going to give is relevant or not. For example, while it may seem irrelevant to you that you have had other accidents in the past, this fact may be highly relevant to the other side if it turns out that the prior accident(s) involved similar parts of your body or led to long-standing physical complaints that were around before the most recent accident in question. Without asking, the other attorney does not know what information will later become relevant to him and his case.

At a typical deposition your own attorney will not ask you any questions, because he/she asks you those questions without putting it on the record. Anything you say at the deposition can be used in the courtroom to impeach your credibility later.

In addition to Interrogatories and depositions, the other side may file a Request for Production of Documents. This request will typically ask for medical records, employment records and any other relevant documents, such as tax returns or lost wage information. These documents must be provided.

After the discovery process has been completed, the case will then be scheduled for trial. Prior to trial there may be a settlement conference, as well as an arbitration. Arbitration and settlement conferences are typically used by the court to try and settle cases before they reach the courtroom.

The case is usually scheduled shortly after the settlement conference has been completed.

Depositions – Dos and Don’ts for Depositions

After Interrogatories are exchanged between the parties and answers are given, depositions may be taken. In a deposition, the other attorney discusses the circumstances of the case and takes a statement from any party involved, either at his/her office or at your attorney’s office in front of a court reporter.

Depositions can be taken from all parties, witnesses, medical providers or other relevant witnesses including police officers or other experts like an accident reconstruction specialist, etc. A deposition will typically last for several hours, but your attorney will prepare you prior to the questioning so that you know what to expect.

Deposition questions may be the same questions that you are typically asked in court, as well as other questions involving your background. Depositions are an opportunity for the defense lawyer to get to know you and he/she may ask you questions concerning your entire work history, health history, accident history and personal life, to be followed by a question regarding the accident itself.

See questions suggested in the District Court questions list, as well as questions asked in Interrogatories for examples.

Depositions – Giving Your Story To The Other Side

After Interrogatories are exchanged between the parties and answers are given, depositions may be taken. In a deposition, the other attorney discusses the circumstances of the case and takes a statement from any party involved, either at his/her office or at your attorney’s office in front of a court reporter.

Depositions can be taken from all parties, witnesses, medical providers or other relevant witnesses including police officers or other experts like an accident reconstruction specialist, etc. A deposition will typically last for several hours, but your attorney will prepare you prior to the questioning so that you know what to expect. Deposition questions may be the same questions that you are typically asked in court, as well as other questions involving your background.

Depositions are an opportunity for the defense lawyer to get to know you and he/she may ask you questions concerning your entire work history, health history, accident history and personal life, to be followed by a question regarding the accident itself. See questions suggested in the District Court questions list, as well as questions asked in Interrogatories for examples.

Consultation: matas@ataslaw.com
<