If you were recently injured in a serious car accident, filing a personal injury claim can help to ensure that you get all of the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries. While the vast majority of these claims will be settled before they ever see the inside of a courtroom, it is possible that your claim will result in a civil trial in order to determine whether or not you receive the compensation you are seeking. If your case reaches this point, it is important for you to know what you should expect from you accident attorney during each step of the trial process. Taking a moment to review the step by step guide below can help you to develop this important understanding.
Step 1: Jury Selection
When taking your case to trial, you will have the right to have you case heard by a jury of your peers. If you choose to waive this right, you case will be heard and decided solely by the judge presiding over the case. This type of trial is often referred to as a bench trial.
Assuming that you do not choose to have a bench trial, the first step in the trial process will be to select a jury. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending upon the size of the jury pool.
During jury selection, each attorney will have the opportunity to ask potential jurors a series of questions that is designed to help them forecast how each juror would vote in your specific case. If your attorney feels as though a particular juror may vote against you, they can use what is known as a peremptory challenge to excuse this juror without giving cause. However, it is important to use these challenges wisely since each attorney will only be given a few.
After any inadequate jurors have been dismissed, jurors will be selected from the remaining jury pool. In most states, the number of jurors that will be assigned to your case will depend upon the total amount of compensation that you are seeking. For instance, in the State of Georgia, only six jurors will be assigned to a case that is valued under $25,000, while twelve jurors will be assigned to a case valued at more than $25,000.
Step 2: Arguments
The phase of the process will account for the majority of your trial. The first step in this phase is for each attorney to make an opening statement. This statement allows them to introduce themselves and their clients to the jury and to provide the jurors with a basic summary of the case they intend to present.
Next, each attorney will be given the opportunity to try and prove their case by calling witnesses and presenting the court with physical evidence. There is a good chance that you will be called on at this time to testify regarding your version of the events that led up to your accident.
After each side has rested their case, both attorneys will once again address the jury by making a closing statement. This statement allows them to recap everything that has been discussed and to briefly explain why the jury should find in favor of their client. According to some legal experts, a good closing argument can make or break the case since this is the last thing the jury will hear before deliberations begin, so really look for your attorney like Todd East Attorney at Law to wow you when making this statement.
Step 3: Delivering A Verdict
After all of the evidence has been presented and closing statements have been made, the jurors will receive instructions from the judge regarding their deliberations. With these instructions in hand, the jurors will then retire to the jury room to begin deliberating the facts of the case. Once the jury has reached a unanimous decision, all parties in the case will be summoned to the court room where the verdict will be delivered.
In the event that the jury finds the defendant liable for causing your injuries, they will not only deliver a verdict in favor of you, but they will also deliver an exact dollar amount that they are instructing the defendant to pay. If the jury finds in favor of the defendant, no dollar amount will be assigned to the case and the case will be dismissed.Share