This is the next post in our series discussing car accident litigation in Fort Worth, Texas. Our previous post discussed the use of pretrial motions in the litigation process. Pretrial motions are used by attorneys for both parties to resolve specific issues before a trial begins. The issues can be complicated and, given the potential impact on a case, are often contentious. When retaining a law firm to handle your car accident case, it is important to choose a group with experienced personal injury attorneys who understand the significance of pretrial motions. In this post, we will discuss what to expect if your case proceeds to trial. Litigation in car accident cases, particularly when the victim’s injuries are serious, can be extremely complicated. It is important that you retain an attorney with trial experience to represent your interests. If you or a loved one have been injured, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.
If a lawsuit is not settled with the defendant’s insurance company and not otherwise resolved through pretrial motions, it will proceed to trial. The trial process begins with the selection of a jury. The attorneys for each party as well as the judge ask questions of potential jury members to ascertain whether the person is capable of being unbiased in their review of the case. The judge may remove someone from the jury pool if the person’s answers suggest that they may not be impartial. Attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant may also remove a limited number of potential jurors from the pool based on their questioning. Candidates may not be removed or challenged for discriminatory reasons such as ethnicity, gender, or religion. At the end of this process, a final jury is empaneled. Next, the attorneys for both sides will make their respective opening statements. The plaintiff will then present their evidence and witnesses followed by the defendant’s presentation of their case. After the defense has presented their case, the plaintiff may offer “rebuttal” evidence. After the evidentiary phase of the trial, each side will make closing arguments and the jurors will deliberate and ultimately render their verdict regarding liability and damages.
As we have previously discussed, car accident cases can present complicated issues concerning the liability of the parties and the damages sustained by the victim. When presenting their respective cases, both parties will likely include testimony from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists if there is a dispute about which party is at fault or the comparative fault of the victim. Depending upon the severity of the victim’s injuries, additional expert testimony may be required to establish damages. This may include physicians, vocational experts, and economists to provide evidence about the plaintiff’s long-term medical prognosis, lost wages, and anticipated future medical expenses. The defense will likely also present expert testimony attempting to challenge the plaintiff’s damages calculation. The jury will be responsible for understanding and evaluating the entirety of the evidence presented to them. It is imperative, therefore, to retain an attorney with the skills to effectively communicate the relevant information throughout the trial. How the jury will rule in any given matter will always depend on the specific facts of the case.
Car accident trials can be complex, lengthy, and require significant resources from the law firms involved to prepare an effective case for their clients. When selecting a Fort Worth personal injury attorney, we suggest that you retain a firm with multiple lawyers, significant trial experience, and the resources to vigorously represent your interests. These recommendations apply in Fort Worth and other areas of Texas.