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What to Expect at a Personal Injury Trial

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another person, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. When many people think of personal injury cases, they conjure up images of courtrooms and legal drama. In reality, the personal injury process is much more mundane and handled behind the scenes. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court and never go to trial. However, if the person who caused your injury refuses to offer a fair settlement, you and your personal injury attorney may decide that a trial is necessary.

Below, we will outline what you can expect if your personal injury case goes all the way to trial. Keep in mind that no two cases are the same and that you should consult with a Sacramento personal injury attorney concerning your particular case.

Jury Selection

Jury cases are not just for criminal matters. Juries are also significant for civil personal injury cases. Choosing a jury is important because it is vital that the members of the jury are fair-minded. They should not be biased. However, the defendant’s attorney will often try to choose members of the jury that are more likely to oppose your case.

Potential jurors will be asked a range of questions used to determine what biases they may have towards particular matters, particularly their opinions revolving around the case in question. For example, if a personal injury case involves a truck accident and a potential juror or a member of their family has been involved in the truck accident, this could affect their opinions of the case. Both lawyers will consider each juror for “keeping” or “discarding.” Both sides are working to get a jury that will work in their favor.

Picking the Jury and Evidence

Both sides will then work through the members of potential jurors and pick a jury for the trial. This usually will not take as long because both sides have already deliberated on each person.

Once this is done, opening statements are made by both sides in the case. After the opening statements, both sides will have a chance to present evidence for their case and call witnesses. Both lawyers can call witnesses to testify on behalf of their clients. However, a witness called by the plaintiff (the injured party) will also have a chance to be questioned by the defendant’s attorney. Likewise, a witness called by the defendant can also be questioned by the plaintiff’s attorney.

Closing and Verdict

After all of the evidence has been introduced and all witnesses have given statements and been questioned, the lawyers for both sides will provide closing arguments. The closing argument is the final statement each side will give to the jury to bolster their case.

Once the closing argument has concluded, the jurors will be instructed to deliberate the case in a room separate from the courtroom. Depending on the facts of the case, this could take an hour, or it could take days. There must be a consensus among the jurors for one conclusion or another. If jurors cannot reach a conclusion, it will be considered a “hung jury.” If they do reach a conclusion, they will come back an announcement will be made in front of all parties.