In a personal injury trial, both sides hope for a judgment in their favor. Although not all plaintiffs choose to have a panel of jurors decide the case instead of a judge, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, the jury trial process is the same. Except for the time that you are actually testifying, you are really just a bystander, sitting by the side of your injury attorney as he or she does the work of presenting your case and challenging the evidence presented by the opposing side.

Jury selection: The first step is choosing a jury. Your attorney will ask questions of potential jurors to try and determine if they have any reason to be biased against you. Each side is given a certain number of peremptory challenges. Without giving a reason, your attorney can excuse a potential juror from serving. If the judge notes a possible bias after listening to the answers to the attorney’s questions, the judge may excuse the potential juror for cause and your attorney will not need to use one of the allotted challenges.

Opening statements: After the jury has been selected and sworn in, each side has the opportunity to give an opening statement. It is not evidence, but each side gives an overview of how it views the case and what it expects the evidence to prove.

Presentation of evidence: The plaintiff presents evidence first. Witnesses give answers under oath to questions that are asked. When attorneys ask questions of their own witnesses, it is called direct examination. When direct examination is over, opposing attorneys asks questions. This is called cross-examination. When plaintiffs have presented all their evidence, defendants have a chance to present their side of the case.

Closing arguments: Attorneys for each side sum up the case and explain to the jurors why they should decide in favor of that attorney’s client.

Jury instructions: Before the jury begins its deliberations, the judge provides instructions on the law relevant to the case. Judges decide on which instructions to give after meeting with the attorneys for both sides and listening to their instruction requests. Jurors are always instructed to decide the case based on the preponderance of the evidence — in other words, for the side that most of the evidence favors.

Jury deliberates and renders a verdict: The jurors meet privately to discuss the case and come to a decision. If they decide in favor of the plaintiff, they then determine the amount of money the plaintiff should be awarded for his or her injury.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident, contact Campbell & Associates today!

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