Dealing with the aftermath of a vehicle accident can be a stressful and complicated process especially if you or a loved one has been seriously injured. While most of our cases settle out of court, if a client has been seriously injured or lost a loved one we are ready to fight and go to court if necessary.
This is especially the case when damages are significant, there is adequate insurance to collect such as claims against semi-truck companies or other commercial policies.
Our law firm will only file suit in cases where we cannot obtain the damages our clients deserve with the ability to collect without litigation. Once the court action is initiated it can take months or years to reach a final resolution.
Our law firm makes every effort to settle a case prior to litigation which may include pre-litigation mediation. We only file suit after detailed consultation with our client.
Flora Templeton Stuart is a law firm dedicated to obtaining justice for personal injury victims throughout Kentucky and the nation. With extensive trial experience we know how to prepare with the best chance of success if your personal injury case such as a car or semi-truck accident goes to court.
Flora Templeton Stuart was the first female lawyer to try a case in Warren County and has been in court ever since. She provides personal representation with a local attorney for over 43 years of experience.
In looking at reported jury verdicts in Kentucky in 2019 according to The Kentucky Trial Court Review at www.juryverdicts.net only thirty-three accident cases resulted in jury verdicts in Kentucky in 2019.
Further, from 1998 to 2019 there were 5,822 civil cases tried and of those from 1998 to 2019 only 2,017 were from automobile negligence accounting for 34.69% of all cases. Therefore, a jury trial in an automobile injury case is rare as the great majority settle out of court.
A trial in a civil dispute is a formal court examination of evidence before a judge or jury to determine legal liability between parties. However, the actual court “trial” is only a small portion of the entire trial process.
Our law firm prior to filing suit would have explored all options of settlement along with thorough investigation of your case which would likely include obtaining an investigator to locate witnesses and obtain recorded statements, photos of the accident, accident reconstructionist to prove liability (Defendant at fault), asset check of the Defendant, policy limits, available insurance such as uninsured and underinsured in pre-litigation preparation.
Our attorneys watch carefully the statute of limitations so the lawsuit is filed in a timely manner. In Kentucky the statute of limitations of a personal injury case not involving a vehicle collision is one year.
The statute of limitations for a vehicle collision is two years, but can be extended with the payment of PIP benefits. The statute begins to run at the age of 18 and in the case of incompetency at the time that the person is deemed competent.
Once a decision has been made by both the client and our attorneys that filing the lawsuit is in the best interest of the client to obtain maximum recovery the following steps will be followed:
Our attorneys spend hours preparing the complaint to make sure that all parties responsible are named as Defendants, a cause of action is clearly stated, which is where and how the accident occurred, detailed injuries sustained by the client and a request for damages along with a jury trial.
The complaint is filed with the court with jurisdiction and is then served by sheriff or certified mail on the Defendant or Defendants.
This is the court where the lawsuit is filed. In Kentucky state court a vehicle or truck accident case along with a personal injury is under the jurisdiction of circuit court pursuant to KRS 23A.010 as long as the damages claimed exceed $5,000.00.
In a car or semi-truck accident to file suit there must be a minimum of $1,000.00 of medical expenses, the injury has resulted in permanent injury, a fracture, loss of a body member and/or death pursuant to KRS 304-39-060(2)(b).
Federal Court has jurisdiction if there is complete diversity (all Plaintiffs or Defendants are from a different state) or there is a federal question such as civil rights. In addition, there must be claimed a minimum of $75,000 in damages.
Our law firm has handled cases in federal court throughout the country which involves complex litigation.
Once the lawsuit has been filed and served on the Defendants they will have 30 days to file an answer with the court at which time they will usually deny allegations in the law suit and the controversy will begin.
Discovery is the process through which the parties in a lawsuit gather and exchange information for a case.
Tools available to parties in discovery include:
The discovery process provides an opportunity to see what information the other party has regarding the dispute. This will allow you to assess the strength of your case and better prepare for the other party’s argument in court or settle out of court.
In Kentucky the circuit court judge will usually order mediation with a skilled, neutral attorney. The attorneys for the parties provide a detailed statement of the case to the mediator prior to mediation where the parties meet to attempt to negotiate a settlement.
A large number of cases settle at mediation before trail and sometimes with pre-litigation mediation prior to filing suit.
Trail preparation makes up a large portion of the full court process and includes tasks such as:
This is an ongoing process that will require constant attention and preparation. Our attorneys together have tried over 100 cases in their career and have the necessary resources to insure we are adequately prepared to present your case to the jury so we can obtain maximum recovery.
Prior to the trial date the Judge will order parties to exchange discovery, list all witnesses they intend to bring to trial, provide reports of all expert witnesses who will be testifying at court.
During that time the parties will also exchange exhibits to be used at trial as ordered by the court.
Jury selection, also known as “voir dire” is the process for which potential jurors can be examined and selected or removed with or without cause.
Removal of a jury can be for cause where a juror has personal information or relationship with the parties or witnesses that may affect their judgement in the case or prejudices that may affect their ability to be a fair and neutral juror.
The parties each have a certain number of strikes without cause before the final jury is selected. Jury selection often plays a vital role in the outcome of a lawsuit. The Commonwealth of Kentucky qualifies individuals for jury service each juror must:
The seating trial judge will question the jury to make sure that they are qualified to serve.
The sequence of events:
The more extensive your preparations leading up to the trail, the better chance you will have at a favorable resolution of your claims. For this reason, it is important to choose a law firm with years of trial experience who can navigate this complex process of your advantage.
Flora Templeton Stuart is a nationally recognized Bowling Green personal injury law firm with over 43 years of experience.
Not only do we have experience representing personal injury victims but we only represent personal injury victims in car accident/semi-truck and serious personal injury cases.
We continue to secure favorable outcomes in over 90 percent of our cases, and we are prepared to fight to do the same for you.
We are local attorneys with offices throughout south central Kentucky in Bowling Green, Glasgow, Greenville and Russellville and are ready to meet or travel to our injured clients. The Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart is also licensed in Kentucky and Tennessee.
We believe that personal injury victims should not be deprived of adequate legal representation simply due to cost concerns. For this reason, when you hire our team, you will not incur any fees or costs unless and until we win your case and you receive compensation for your injuries.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to say with any certainty how long a trial process might last. From the time you file your lawsuit to the time you receive your verdict, it very well could take months or even years, especially with appeals, but we will be with you every step of the way.
The decision of whether to settle depends on a variety of factors. More often than not, a car, semi-truck or personal injury accident case will settle before trial, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should settle. If you are unsure whether you should settle or proceed with trial, contact our team today for your free case evaluation so that we can discuss the best option for you moving forward.