The Case of the Broken Arm
By Katie Mueller
In this brochure, you will learn about a civil court case that was caused by a minor car accident. One night, a woman named Cathy was driving down the road, when all of a sudden, she heard a thump from the back of her car. She had been rear ended. The damage to the car was minor - nothing the driver of the other car's insurance couldn't cover. However, this thump had been relatively large, and Cathy had lost balance and slammed her bent arm into the side of the car, breaking it in the process. Cathy let out a scream, recovered her breath, and went outside to speak to the driver of the other car, who turned out to be a man named Bob. Bob was very apologetic. However, apologies were not enough for Cathy. Cathy was a construction worker, and would be unable to work for weeks with a broken arm. She decided to take her case to court.
The First Step
The first step in this case for Cathy was to hire a lawyer. Her lawyer, Andrew, knew exactly where to begin. He filed a complaint, in which he named the plaintiff as Cathy and the defendent as Bob.
How Bob Found Out
Bob was returning home one day from work. He went to go get the mail. In the mail, he had received an important looking letter. His heart sunk when he opened it and realized what it was. It was a summons. It instructed him to appear in court a week from that day at 10:00 in the morning.
The Next Step For Bob
Bob, dreading the long civil court case process, hired an attorney to help his case. The attorney answered the complaint, which, together with the complaint, made up the pleadings. Both Cathy's lawyer and Bob's attorney did research and found evidence to help their cases. Then both parties attended a pretrial conference, in which the judge helps to clarify any differences and prepare for the trial.
Cathy had hoped to simply settle the matter by mediation. However, Bob was not doing so well in work and did not have the money to simply pay her back for her damages if not absolutely necessary. Bob would not agree to mediation. Bob also did not agree to arbitration, because he wanted a full jury and true judge to hear the case.
In the trial, the plaintiff and her lawyer provided a preponderance of evidence and Bob was found guilty of causing damage to Cathy's arm. The verdict was that he had to pay a settlement. While Bob could not really afford the cost of the settlement, he did not try to appeal because he knew he was in the wrong. In the end, Cathy got compensation for her broken arm and missing work, and Bob payed the price for his mistake.