There is a reason why they call it a “trial.” Part of the anxiety and stress litigants feel when their trial date is approaching is due to the fact that they are unfamiliar with what to expect. Hopefully, this will shed some light on what to expect at trial.
As your trial date approaches, it is imperative that you are properly prepared. In many instances, it has been years since the incident occurred and you will want to be refreshed regarding the circumstances of the incident as well as your medical treatment. Knowing what questions that will be asked by your attorney, as well as the cross-examination questions from the opposing attorney, will go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable when you are called to testify in front of the judge and jury.
On the first day of your trial, it will be unlikely that any witnesses will be called to testify. The first step in the process often involves the attorneys meeting with the judge to discuss “motions in limine.” These motions are designed to obtain rulings from the judge ahead of time regarding certain issues so that the parties know what evidence they can discuss in front of the jury. For example, will the jury hear about the defendant’s burglary conviction when he was 17? Are the expert’s opinions based on generally accepted principles or are they based on junk science? After motions in limine are concluded the process of selecting the jury will begin.
The jury selection is a very important part of the case for both parties. It is not unusual for this process to last several hours. You will want to be there for this process. The jurors who are selected are going to be the people who decide your case. They are giving up their valuable time to resolve your dispute. If they are there, you should be too.
After the jury is selected, the next phase is “opening statements.” This is a chance for both sides to tell the jury what the case is about and to provide the jury with a preview of what they will be hearing. After opening statements are concluded, you (the plaintiff) will begin calling witnesses and presenting evidence to prove her case. This is the portion of the trial when you will finally be called to tell your story. After you finish presenting all of your evidence, it will then be the defendant’s turn to call witnesses, if the defendant chooses to do so.
After all of the testimony is presented by both sides it will be time for closing arguments. Closing arguments allow attorneys to persuade the jury why the evidence that was gathered during the trial will lead to a verdict in the client’s favor. Once closing arguments are concluded the judge will read the jury instructions to the jury and then the jury will deliberate until a verdict is rendered.
At this point, your work is concluded but perhaps the most anxious time is yet to come. There is nothing quite like sitting at your table and waiting for the foreperson to reveal the jury’s verdict.
Being properly prepared and having a talented and experienced attorney will maximize your chances of prevailing.
Mario Palermo, of Palermo Law Group, LLC, has been practicing Personal Injury Law for over 20 years. He is recognized as being in the top 1% of litigators in the nation and has dedicated his career to recovering full and fair compensation for injury victims and their families. To learn more please visit PalermoLawGroup.com.