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Key parts of a personal injury trial

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Most personal injury lawsuits resolve through settlement negotiations, meaning that both sides avoid trial. But sometimes agreement can’t be reached on settlement terms. When this happens, you need to be prepared to go to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve. As you do so, though, you might find yourself wondering what the litigation process looks like.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with how litigation unfolds in the personal injury context, as it can ease some of your stress and focus your preparation. With that in mind, let’s dive in and take a closer look at what you can expect from your personal injury lawsuit’s trial.

How a personal injury lawsuit trial plays out

When you think of a trial, you probably picture the courtroom dramas that you see on television. While there can be heated moments in the courtroom, much of it is legal posturing and making a record that supports any potential judgment and the parties’ position on appeal. Here are some of the key points in a personal injury lawsuit that you’ll want to be cognizant of moving forward:

  • Jury selection: Although you can choose to litigate your case to a judge in what’s known as a bench trial, you also have the ability to have your case heard by a jury of your peers. If you choose a jury trial, then the jury selection process is critically important, as it gives you the ability to weed out those potential jurors who would view your case through a biased lens.
  • Opening statements: Here, each side will have the opportunity to lay out what they expect the evidence to show and how they hope the jury will interpret it. You’ll want to be compelling here so that you have the jury primed to see the evidence from your perspective.
  • Presentation of the evidence: This sounds straightforward, but this is where cases are won and lost. Not only do you need to ensure that you adequately present all of the evidence supporting your claim, but you also need to find ways to minimize the impact of the defense’s evidence. You might accomplish this be engaging in effective cross-examination techniques or utilizing the rules of evidence to challenge the validity of key physical evidence.
  • Closing arguments: Here, you’re given the opportunity to summarize the evidence and argue why the judge or jury should find in your favor. You need to demonstrate your powers of persuasion at this point to bring your case together.
  • Jury instructions: At the close of evidence, the judge will instruct the jury on what they must consider and decide. The judge might provide clarification on legal definitions of key terms, too, so that the jury knows exactly what it is tasked with deciding.
  • The verdict: After full consideration of the evidence, the jury will ultimately reach a determination as to liability and damages. The court will reduce the verdict down to a judgment, which is then enforceable. Just keep in mind that this judgment might be appealed.

Confidently move through the stages of your personal injury case

This is a very broad overview of what goes into personal injury litigation. If you want to find the best way to navigate your case, then you need to be detail-oriented in analyzing the evidence, preparing your case, and crafting your legal arguments.

That might sound stressful in light of the stakes involved, but you can find support in navigating your claim so that you’re confident with the plan that you end up setting in motion.