When you are hurt or disabled due to someone's negligence, your first thought may be to file a personal injury lawsuit to recoup your damages. While many personal injury claims settle out of court, some do go before a judge and jury. If this happens in your case, you need to know what to expect. The following are some things you can expect during a trial of your personal injury claim:
Once the jury is seated, each attorney representing both parties will make an opening statement. The opening statement lays out the case and discusses why the plaintiff should or shouldn't win. This is when the attorneys will explain how they think the case will end, which includes how much money you should get for a settlement.
After opening statements, a personal injury attorney will have all witnesses go before the judge to support your case. During this time, the attorney will ask questions to make a case for your injuries. You will likely be called to testify on your own behalf. The attorney will ask questions about the accident, what led up to it, and how you were injured as a result. You will also have the opportunity to tell the jury how your life has been affected as a result of the accident.
Additional witnesses will be called to further explain why you should win your claim. This includes medical testimonies and even your employer, who can testify if you are no longer able to do your job due to your injuries.
The defendant's attorney will then have the opportunity to cross examine the witnesses, in which they will try to convince the jury why your claim does not have merit. The best thing to do is speak calmly and answer the questions as straightforwardly as possible. The testimony process is the longest part of the trial, possibly lasting weeks if many witnesses are necessary.
Once the testimony is over, each attorney will give a closing argument. Like the opening statement, each attorney will summarize the case and explain why you should or should not win based on the testimonies provided during the course of the trial.
Finally, the jury will leave to deliberate the case. They will get instructions from the judge on how they have to use the law and the testimonies provided to decide the case. Jurors may not utilize their own experiences or biases, but just base it on the information provided in court.