The goal of most personal injury cases involving car accidents is to settle the matter before the case reaches trial. However, if the negotiations have hit an impasse, then the case will end up in a court of law, which many people find intimidating. If you’ve never been involved in a trial before, then it might be helpful for you to learn the process. Keep reading to learn what happens if your car accident case goes to trial and how a legal expert can help you prepare for the trial process.
Filling the Jury
Depending on the state in which your accident occurred, your case will most likely be decided by a jury of your peers, as opposed to by a judge. At the beginning of your trial, twelve people will be selected to sit on your jury through the process of voir dire. During the voir dire process, a pool of possible jurors will be questioned by both the prosecution and defense to determine if they have any biases related to the case. If a juror is deemed suitable, they will join the jury. Once the entire jury has been filled, the actual trial will begin.
Setting the Stage with Opening Statements
After the jury has been selected, both attorneys in the case will be given an opportunity to present opening statements. Generally speaking, opening statements are used to inform the jury of the basic outlines of the case and to give starting details of what each attorney in the case will attempt to prove over the course of the trial. In most cases the plaintiff’s attorney will present their opening statement first, although this is not set in stone. Each opening statement will typically last fifteen to twenty minutes.
Presenting the Evidence
Once opening statements are completed, the meat of the trial can begin: Presenting the evidence. The plaintiff side has the burden of proof, meaning they are responsible for proving fault, so they will present their evidence first. This evidence can be anything from eyewitness accounts to medical records that speak to the plaintiff’s injuries. After the plaintiff’s attorney has presented their evidence, they will “rest” their case, which means that the defense is now given the opportunity to present their refuting evidence. Upon both sides resting, the trial will move on.
Wrapping Up with Closing Statements
With all the evidence presented, both attorneys will have the opportunity to present closing statements. Closing statements serve as a book end to the trial, usually mirroring the opening statements in some way. During closing statements, each attorney will try to hammer home the main points of their case, attempting one final time to sway the jury to their respective side.
Reaching a Verdict
The last step of a trial is composed of jury deliberation and the verdict. After the attorneys have finished their closing statements, the jury will be dismissed to allow them to debate and go over the evidence presented with the aim of deciding on a verdict. There is no proscribed time limit for jury deliberations, and they can take as little as few hours to as much as a few days. When the jury has finished their deliberations and reached a verdict, both parties in the case will be called back in court to receive the verdict.
Contact Jay & Brent for Legal Help with Your Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident case can be extremely trying, particularly if the case ends up going to trial. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are looking for legal help, then you need to contact our car accident lawyers at The McMahan Law Firm. Whether your case is settled out of court or ends up going to trial, the experienced attorneys at the McMahan Law Firm will be on your side every step of the way. After you’ve been hurt in a car accident, make McMahan Law Firm your first call.