Most California residents will never see the inside of a courtroom. However, for those who do, the most likely cause is a family law case or a personal injury case. The legal proceedings can be a mystery to some. Car accidents, which occur every day, can lead to serious injuries for those involved. If the accident was caused due to the negligent or reckless actions of one of the parties involved, a lawsuit may result. So, what can our readers expect in a lawsuit based on a car accident so that some of the mystery of the process is gone?

Well, for starters, anyone who is evenly slightly knowledgeable about court cases – perhaps from what they have seen on television or in movies – knows that the key to every case is evidence. In a lawsuit based on a car accident, the evidence will typically include police reports, photos of the accident scene and injuries involved, as well as potential statements from witnesses who saw the crash occur. If the victim in the case – the “plaintiff” – has this type of evidence, that is a strong starting point.

For the most part, personal injury lawsuits turn into back-and-forth arguments and negotiations between the plaintiff and the party who allegedly caused the accident – the “defendant.” The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end in some type of out-of-court settlement. However, sometimes pushing the case forward on a trial track is unavoidable.

If a personal injury case proceeds to trial, the plaintiff must prove the case by the “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard is typically translated into the commonly heard “more likely than not” bar for a plaintiff to meet. If a plaintiff is successful in meeting the applicable burden of proof, financial compensation can be awarded to cover medical expenses and bills, as well as lost income, among other financial damages.