This is the next post in our series on the handling of head injury cases in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article dealt with the role experts in head trauma cases. It is important to understand that expert witnesses are required in such matters in order to prove damages and, in some cases, to prove liability. Retaining a personal injury attorney with the resources necessary to retain experts is crucial to one’s case. In this article we will discuss what victims and their loved ones should expect from the trial process. If you have been the victim of brain damage, a concussion, or have otherwise suffered a blow to the head then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
Trial in a head injury case is similar to what many people expect. The case will begin with the attorneys from each side selecting a jury from a pool of potential candidates. Each side will ask questions of the potential jurors to determine their biases, whether they can be impartial, and if there is a particular reason why they should not serve. The Judge will also ask questions of the potential jurors. Should it be obvious that a candidate lacks the ability to be impartial then the Judge may remove the candidate from the pool. The attorneys for each side will also have a number of challenges which they may use to remove candidates from the pool. It is important to understand that a juror may not be removed for reasons such as ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender, or some other characteristic protected by state and federal law. Once the final jurors have been selected then the process shall move on to opening statements.
The lawyers for both the Plaintiff and the Defendant are not permitted to argue why they are right, or why the other side is wrong, during their opening statements. If one side begins to make arguments then the other side may object. Opening statements, instead, are a time for each side to tell the jury what is the case is about, the type of evidence they may expect to see and hear during trial, and how it is that the jury will be asked to rule at the completion of the process.
The Plaintiff will present his or her case first and the Defendant will follow. Once the Defense has rested then the Plaintiff will have an opportunity to present “rebuttal” evidence. Rebuttal is not a time to present new arguments. The Plaintiff may only use this phase of the case to present evidence which is in direct response to the Defense’s arguments. After rebuttal each side will make a closing argument and the jury will the deliberate. The jury will decide liability (including issues of comparative fault) and the amount of money to be awarded to the Plaintiff (if any). It is important to understand that the rules of evidence will be strictly enforced during the trial process and it is crucial to have a lawyer experienced in handling such matters.
If you have suffered a head injury then you should consult with attorneys who have extensive experience in cases which range from concussions to traumatic brain injuries. This is true whether you were injured in the Texas counties of Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise or the cities of Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.