What Will Happen At My Personal Injury Trial?
For the first time, facing a personal injury trial can be a harrowing experience. There are steps upon steps in the process, and personal injury cases are often pretty complicated in the state of Florida. At GetMeJustice.com, our professionals in law want to make this process a bit less intimidating, and we understand that the best way to do this is through understanding just what your experience may entail. A personal injury trial, with the assistance of a professional personal injury lawyer, doesn’t have to be stressful or scary, and the first step in gaining comfort with the idea of a personal injury trial is learning a little more about it first.
Stage 1 – Choosing A Jury
If your trial is going to be held before a jury, the choosing of the jury will be handled first. During this selection process, the judge, your attorney, and the defendant’s attorney will all question and choose jurors that they feel will be a right and unbiased fit for the case. After the jury has been chosen, the trial can then begin.
Stage 2 – Opening Statements
The very first part of the actual trial, and the first dialogue spoken regarding the trial, is the opening statements. During this process, the attorney of the plaintiff and the defendant will both provide their opening statements and present their case to the court. Typically, since the plaintiff is demonstrating the defendant’s liability in their injury, their opening statement will be more detailed and longer than that of the defendant, but this isn’t universally the case.
The opening statement of the plaintiff will include the facts surrounding the incident, and the defendant’s role or alleged fault revolving around their accident. With their opening statement, the plaintiff’s attorney will introduce the case to the courts and walk them through what they will be trying to prove during the duration of their trial. The opening statement of the defendant will revolve around presenting their own side of the facts, and explaining how they feel the accident occurred.
Stage 3 – Witness Testimonies
During this stage of the trial, the plaintiff may begin calling witnesses who were at the scene of the accident, as well as medical professionals to be questioned about the case. Cross-examinations may also take place during this portion of the trial, and the defendant’s attorney may choose to question these witnesses as well. The defendant may also choose to call their own witnesses to the stand, which can then be interviewed by the plaintiff’s attorney as well.
The process of hearing witness testimonies is a simple one, and it goes as follows:
- • A witness is sworn in under oath to take the stand
- • The party who brought the witness to court will then ask the witness questions regarding the case
- • The opposite party will then be able to ask their own questions t to the witness, and this is called cross-examination
- • The party who originally called the witness can then question them again if they so choose, and this is considered re-direct examination
Stage 4 – Closing Arguments
After all witnesses have been interviewed, the closing arguments can then begin. The closing arguments are much like the opening statements, and the attorney of the plaintiff as well as the attorney of the defendant will then make statements to sum up their side of the case to the court.
Stage 5 – To The Jury
After the closing arguments, the case is then often left in the hands of the jury. During this time, the jury selected in the first stage will determine if the defendant is legally responsible for paying compensation to the plaintiff, using a set of legal standards given by the judge presiding over the trial. The deliberation of the jury can be as quick as a few hours, or as long as a few weeks, and this all depends upon the complexity of the case itself.