Understanding the personal injury trial process can help you feel more confident if your case doesn’t reach a settlement. Even though most personal injury cases are settled out of court, some of them go all the way to a trial and a verdict. You want that verdict to end up in your favor, and working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help. Here’s what you need to know.
Filing a Lawsuit
Without filing a lawsuit there isn’t any legal case that can make its way to the courtroom, so this is the first step toward going to trial. If your attorney can’t reach a settlement with the other party’s insurance company, the next step will be getting ready to take your case to court.
Choosing the Jury
Some personal injury trials only go before a judge. If yours is like that you can expect to skip this step. For cases that go to a jury, though, the jury selection process has to take place. Your attorney’s goal will be to select jury members that they think will find in your favor, but the other party’s attorney will have the same goal for their client, as well.
Making Opening Statements
After jury selection your personal injury attorney and the attorney for the other party will both make statements addressing the case and the facts they intend to prove. These statements can be very important, and set the tone for the trial.
Testimony From Witnesses and Cross-Examination
Both sides will typically call witnesses to the stand, and ask those witnesses questions about what they saw or what they know. If your attorney calls a witness, the other party’s attorney will also get to ask that witness questions. The same opportunity will be offered to your attorney for the witnesses that were called by the other side.
The Closing Arguments
After all witnesses have testified and been cross-examined it’s time for your personal injury attorney and the other party’s attorney to make their closing arguments. They’ll both talk to the jury (or the judge if you don’t have a jury trial) and argue their side of the case with the hope that the jury finds in their favor.
Instructions for the Jury
The judge will give instructions to the jury about the information they’ve received, anything they’re supposed to disregard, and how to go about settling on a verdict. At that point, it becomes a waiting game until a decision is reached. If you don’t have a jury trial, though, you’ll just be waiting on the judge to make a decision.
Deliberation and Reaching a Verdict
At the end of jury deliberation, or when the judge makes a decision, you’ll be given a verdict. If that verdict is in your favor your attorney will walk you through the next steps for receiving your compensation, and if the verdict goes against you, it may be possible to appeal.
Get the Help You Need Today
Ready to get the support you’re looking for in your personal injury case? If you need help from a personal injury lawyer, reach out to us at Coulter Harsh Law today to get the guidance, information, and legal representation you deserve. We will aggressively fight for your rights, and work toward getting you fair and just compensation for your injuries.