The Personal Injury Trial Process

Personal injury trials are not nearly as glamorous or exciting as what you see on popular TV courtroom dramas. The entire personal injury trial process is long and involved, and a personal injury jury trial can go on for several days.

The biggest decision a car accident plaintiff makes is whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed forward to trial. In some cases, you – the plaintiff – may be better off accepting a pending settlement offer, depending upon the venue, as well as the nature and circumstances of your case. At other times, you may be better off simply rolling the dice and taking your case to trial – especially when the insurance company places a low settlement offer on the table.

Keep in mind that an insurance company’s goal is not to pay you top dollar for your personal injury claim. Rather, the insurance company’s goal is to resolve your case as quickly and for as cheaply as possible. A good personal injury lawyer can weigh the pros and cons of going to trial in your individual case and can make a helpful recommendation.

If you or someone you love has sustained injuries as a direct result of someone else’s carelessness or negligence, the skilled New Port Richey personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are here to help streamline your case for you. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can assist you with obtaining a favorable settlement in your case. In addition to being strong negotiators, our attorneys are also strong litigators and are not afraid to take your case to trial, if necessary.

Overview of a Typical Personal Injury Trial

Personal injury jury trials can oftentimes be long and tedious, and you should take this into account when you are deciding whether to accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to trial. A personal injury jury trial typically consists of the following:

  • Voir dire
  • Opening Statements
  • Plaintiff’s case-in-chief
  • Defendant’s case-in-chief
  • Jury Instructions
  • Closing Arguments
  • Jury Deliberations
  • Verdict

It is important to note that personal injury cases can always settle up to the day of trial, including on the day of the trial itself. However, once the personal injury trial is concluded and the case is submitted to the jury for a verdict, any pending settlement offers go away, and appeal rights are extremely limited. Unfortunately, a personal injury trial verdict cannot be appealed because you do not like the trial result or jury award. 

Jury Selection

A personal injury jury trial begins with a process known as voir dire. This is the process during which individual jury members are selected from a large pool of jurors. The potential jurors are typically read a series of questions designed to expose potential biases and prejudices. Some potential jurors are then systematically eliminated by the attorneys, and the attorneys are permitted to strike certain prospective jurors.

The main purpose of voir dire is theoretically to create a fair and unbiased jury that will be able to render a fair and impartial verdict in a personal injury case. It is important to note that there is no such thing as a perfect jury trial or a perfect jury, and jury members oftentimes consider outside factors when reaching a verdict – even though they are told not to consider those factors.

Opening Statements

The main purpose of an opening statement is for the attorneys to provide jury members with an overview of what they (the attorneys) believe the evidence in the case will show. Immediately after the plaintiff’s attorney makes an opening statement, the defendant’s attorney will then have the opportunity to make an opening statement. It is important to note that opening statements, like closing arguments, are not evidence in the case and are not to be considered as such.

Direct Examination

On direct examination at a personal injury trial, the plaintiff’s attorney will typically call his or her client and any witnesses to the stand to testify. These witnesses may be lay witnesses (including eyewitnesses to the accident) or expert witnesses. When the plaintiff is called on direct exam, he or she will have the opportunity to tell the jury members a ‘story’ and will be able to testify about the effect that the accident and injuries have had on his or her life, activity levels, and relationships. Expert witnesses, like prospective jurors, may also have to undergo the voir dire process.

Cross-examination and Redirect Examination

During cross-examination, the opposing attorney has the opportunity to ask the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s witnesses very focused follow-up leading questions, in order to expose potential weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case. After the defense attorney is finished cross-examining the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney then has the opportunity to ask follow-up questions of the plaintiff on redirect examination.

Defendant’s Case-in-chief

After the plaintiff rests, the defense attorney may then call the defendant, along with any defense witnesses. Each of these witnesses will likely be cross-examined by the plaintiff’s attorney and redirect-examined by the defense attorney. Once the defense has presented its side of the case, the defense will also rest.

Jury Instructions

At some point near the end of the trial – and once all of the evidence in the case has been presented to the jury – the judge will instruct the jury members on the law(s) that they are to apply in reaching their verdict. The jury members are told to apply the evidence that they heard in the case to the applicable law.

Closing Arguments

At the conclusion of a personal injury jury trial, each attorney will typically make a closing argument which ties together all of the facts and evidence presented in the case. Again, closing arguments are not to be considered as evidence in the case.

Contact a New Port Richey Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Personal injury jury trials can be a long and tedious process. The knowledgeable and skilled New Port Richey personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group will be able to review your case with you and help you to decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to trial.

To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a New Port Richey personal injury lawyer, please call us or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275