A lot of personal injury cases will be settled before they go to trial, but sometimes the only way for you to get fair compensation for your injuries and damages is to take your case to court. Your personal injury attorney will know if your case needs to go to trial in order for you to receive the compensation you deserve. We’ll explore what an average personal injury trial looks like so you will have an idea of what to expect when your case goes to court. The length of your trial will depend on the complexity of your case and can last as little as a few days or longer than a few weeks.
What Can I Expect in a Louisiana Personal Injury Trial?
1. Selection of the Jury
Before the trial officially begins, your personal injury attorney, the attorney for the defendant, and the judge will work to select a jury for the case. This process involves asking potential jurors questions to determine whether or not they will be able to remain impartial during the trial. Eventually, twelve jurors are selected from the potential pool of jurors. These twelve jurors will be responsible for deciding the outcome of your case so choosing a fair jury is an important part of the trial.
2. Opening Statements
Now that the jury has been selected the trial can begin. Personal injury cases in the state of Louisiana begin with opening statements made by each party. Typically, your attorney will speak first since you are the one bringing the case to the court and the burden of proof is on you. These statements are used by both parties to outline their case or defense to the jury and set the table for the upcoming presentation of evidence.
3. Presentation of Evidence
Following the opening statements, both sides will present their evidence to the jury. Once again, since you (the plaintiff) are the one bringing the case to the court, your personal injury attorney will present evidence first in the form of witness and expert testimony, and other physical evidence or photographs. When your attorney has finished laying out your case, they will rest, and allow the defendant’s lawyers to present their evidence. During the presentation of evidence, each side is allowed to cross-examine, or question, the other side’s witnesses and experts. After cross-examination, a lawyer may re-question his or her witness or expert to mitigate any damages done on cross-examination.
4. Closing Arguments
After all of the evidence has been presented, both attorneys will have a chance to make their closing arguments. This is very similar to the opening statement. Each attorney will summarize their positions and cast the evidence in a favorable light for their case. Your lawyer will make the argument that the evidence shows that the defendant is responsible for your injuries. This will be the last chance they have to address the jury before they begin their deliberations.
5. Instructions to the Jury
Before the jury can begin to deliberate the evidence they have heard over the course of the trial, the judge instructs the jury in the legal standards that must be met in order to find the defendant guilty, and responsible for your injuries. The judge will decide which legal standards apply based on the evidence presented during the trial and the claims being made. The judge also describes the key legal concepts at stake, the various damages the jury can find for, and more. Once the jury has been given all of this information they are ready to deliberate.
6. Jury Deliberations
In this part of the trial, the jury decides whether or not the defendant is responsible for your injuries, and if they are, how much the damages are worth. This is the first chance the jury gets to openly discuss the case, evidence, and claims amongst themselves. When they reach a verdict, the judge is notified and the verdict is read in open court.
Baton Rouge Personal Injury Attorneys
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact Murphy Law Firm. Our team has over 150 years of litigation experience, and we are experienced trial lawyers. We’re not afraid to take a personal injury case to court if that is what it takes to secure our clients the compensation they deserve. Call Murphy Law Firm at (225) 928-8800 to learn more about the potential for your case and speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.