The vast majority of personal injury cases never see the light of a courtroom. The attorneys handling both parties can generally negotiate and come up with a settlement that satisfies their clients. However, there are a small number of cases that can only be settled in a courtroom by trial. Given the rarity of this situation, some accident victims have no idea what to expect. Here is what happens during a trial.
Unless you have a trial by judge, both your attorney and the attorney for the other party will have an opportunity to select members of the jury. As the accident victim, you will not play an active role in this process, but your attorney will keep you informed of the selections they have made.
Every attorney has his or her own method for selecting and eliminating jurors, but generally, it involves an examination of just how favorable they assume the person will be for their client's case. Attorneys want to eliminate bias in juries. However, there are no guarantees until the verdict is read.
Presentation of Evidence
Once the trial has begun, both sides are expected to present their evidence. Unlike in a settlement, neither party is allowed to levy accusations against one another without proof. For this reason, you must cooperate with your attorney to ensure they have all the information they need to prove your claims.
The presentation of evidence is both parties' opportunity to bring forth evidence for any claims they've made. For example, if an accident victim claims the driver that hit them was on their cellphone at the time of the crash, cellphone records from the driver's phone would be submitted during this time.
The goal of the attorney representing the other party is to disprove everything that your attorney says about the incident, including the cause of the accident and even if your injuries. To go about this process, they might bring in expert witnesses. In terms of disproving your injuries, they might bring in a physician who has reviewed your medical records and determined that you aren't as injured as you say.
This type of testimony can be shocking and disheartening, but remember that it is normal. Your attorney can also bring in an expert witness to debunk the findings of the other person and present evidence to further prove your claims.
An attorney will ensure you are prepared should your injury case go to trial. Make sure you have an attorney working on your behalf.
For more information about the process or about personal injury attorneys, contact a local resource.