When a car accident case goes to trial in Barrie, it generally goes before a jury. The jury will be six men and women from Barrie and Simcoe County.
While most civil cases in Ontario are held before a judge and jury, the rules of court have recently changed. Effective January 2020, it is going to be easier for smaller cases to go before a judge alone. The new, simplified rules will apply to cases that are worth less than $200,000.
Some specialized cases are not held in front of juries. If the auto accident case is too complex, an attorney can strike the jury notice. Additionally, if the case involves a municipality, by law, one cannot have a jury.
If the judge does not find that your injuries are serious and permanent impairment of important physical, mental, or psychological functions, they will throw out your case. In some cases, the jury gives $75,000 in damages, for example, but the judge does not find that the injuries are serious or permanent and subsequently throws it out after the trial.
The trial process begins with preliminary motions, which are not held before a jury. These pretrial motions give lawyers an opportunity to argue about evidence and procedure as well as what to exclude from the actual trial.
After that, your personal injury lawyer will present an opening statement that tells the jury and judge what the case is about. An opening statement is not allowed to be confrontational or argumentative; it needs to be factual, and the opposing lawyer is not allowed to argue with it.
After both sides have given their opening statements, you will present your case first. The court will generally call the plaintiff to give evidence as their first witness, then the defendant will cross-examine, followed by both parties presenting liability evidence, damage evidence, and other relevant information.
If there are multiple defendants, they will each take turns. The challenge of testifying against multiple defendants is that you will be ganged up on to some degree. Dealing with multiple defendants means two, three, or more defense lawyers will be trying to knock your case down. It often becomes a David and Goliath situation.
Sometimes, having multiple defendants can actually be helpful because they may spend more time placing blame on each other than disproving the plaintiff’s claim. Whether having multiple defendants in your car crash trial is helpful or harmful depends on the specific facts of your case.
When you and your legal representative are done presenting your case, the defendant insurance company will go next and finish presenting their case. Then, both sides will give closing statements.
At the end, you and the other party have the chance to argue the case. It could take multiple hours to summarize all the evidence, because after you argue why the evidence supports the case, the insurance company’s lawyer will argue why you should not get anything.
Auto collision trials in Barrie are generally an open process, and anybody can sit in the courtroom and listen to all the evidence, including the personal private health issues. For the most part, though, no one does – not even the defendants. The defendant will come in for an hour or two to give their liability evidence and then go back to their lives. The only people present at trial who care about the case are the lawyers and the insurance adjusters, because it is the insurance company that is paying for the case.
The average motor vehicle accident trial in Barrie takes two to five weeks, which is much longer than in other jurisdictions. The length of the trial is influenced by:
In general, the larger the damages are and the more complicated the case is, the longer the trial will be.
It is important to be aware of Ontario’s $40,000-deductible. If someone is awarded $50,000 in damages to compensate their losses, they will only get to keep $10,000. The challenge of this is that the jury is not aware of this $40,000-deductible in place. That is regrettable because it creates a situation where lawyers have to argue a case in front of people who are making decisions without telling jurors the full extent of the law.
A good trial lawyer will focus on telling your story. It is important to have a plan for a car accident trial in Barrie. This means having a theme, a story you want to tell, and a point you want to make. At the end of the day, trial work is advocacy work, and it’s your lawyer’s job to convince a jury that your case is deserving of an award. The team of lawyers at our firm are dedicated to telling your story and getting you the compensation you deserve, so give us a call today.