If your Cincinnati injury attorney is unable to reach a resolution with other party in regards to your personal injury lawsuit, you will find yourself going to trial to determine whether the defendant should be held liable for your injuries. A personal injury trial typically consists of these steps:
- Jury selection — During this phase, the judge and attorneys for both the plaintiff and the defendant will question a group of potential jurors. Either side can exclude a juror for any reason.
- Opening Statements — After a jury has been selected, the trial will begin. The plaintiff’s attorney typically speaks first and offers a summary of the evidence that will be presented and the defendant’s role in causing the plaintiff’s injury. The defendant’s attorney will present the defense’s interpretation of the case and attempt to rebut the plaintiff’s allegations.
- Witness testimony and cross-examination — Both the plaintiff and the defendant can call witnesses or experts, submit physical evidence and cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. Once both sides have presented all evidence and witnesses, the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s attorneys “rest” before delivering their final statements.
- Closing Arguments — These represent the final opportunities for both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s lawyers to address the jury before deliberations.
- Jury instruction — The judge (or jury instructor) spells out the legal standards applicable to the case for the jury. The instructions from the judge essentially guide the jury how to consider certain evidence. Attorneys also write and submit instructions to the jury, and both sides can object to the other’s instructions.
- Jury deliberation and verdict — Deliberation is the first opportunity for a jury to discuss the case, and the process can last only a few hours or could be stretched out over several weeks, even months. A majority of states require that a 12-person jury be unanimous in finding for the plaintiff or defendant, and if the jury agrees the defendant should be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, the jurors must also agree on appropriate compensation for the injuries.
As we mentioned on Monday in the post that began this series this week, the jury verdict is by no means the definitive end. You will very likely have to deal with an appeal from the losing party, and even if the jury rules in your favor, there could still be issue collecting your judgment award.
Victims who have suffered a debilitating personal injury need more than a quick settlement check that fails to cover all of the expenses incurred. While the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit can involve a lot of time and money, being represented by a knowledgeable Cincinnati injury lawyer can help ensure that you received a just reward for you pain, suffering and, of course, patience.