The Trial Process In An Auto Accident Case
An auto accident case, like most personal injury lawsuits, is structured around specific stages including initial consultations with an attorney, filing court papers, discovery process, pre-trial negotiation, and trial.1 Not every case proceeds to trial, but when damages are extensive, fact patterns are complicated, or a settlement cannot be reached, an injured party can utilize the trial process as an opportunity to argue liability and demand compensation for losses.
Stages Within The Trial Process
The typical trial process is structured around six phases: jury selection, opening statements, witness testimony with cross-examination, closing arguments, jury instruction, and jury deliberation with verdict.2 The jury selection stage focuses on a question and answer format between the lawyers and potential jurors to examine personal ideological predispositions or life experiences to weed out unfit jurors.3 Both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorney provide an opening statement to present facts, demonstrate what evidence would be used, and lay the foundation for arguments to be made during the trial.4 The trial then allows each party to present its case-in-chief through evidence such as witness testimony and general arguments to the jury which includes a direct and cross examination process.5 The final presentation stage in the trial allows each attorney to make a summary of the party’s position through a closing argument.6 At this point in the trial, the proceedings focus shifts to the role of the jury as instructions of the legal standards are provided, the jurors deliberate or discuss the merits of the case, and announce a verdict once a decision has been reached.7
In most instances, a lawsuit will be settled before a party every sees the inside of a courtroom. However, when a case does proceed to trial, the process typically involves similar stages, but a lawsuit can become complicated due to the case’s fact patterns or the type of parties involved which in turn may affect the length of trial as well as an injured party’s ability to collect a judgment.8
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have suffered a loss or harm, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call The Bruning Law Firm at 314-735-8100.