This is the next post in our series on the matters involving Fort Worth, Texas oil field injuries. Our last article discussed the need for expert witnesses in oil field injury cases. It is important to understand that medical, vocational, and industry professionals will be necessary to establish damages as well as liability. It is important that the victims of such cases retain a personal injury attorney with the resources necessary to hire such experts. In this article we will discuss what a victim should expect during the trial process. If you or a loved one have been injured then contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
We have previously discussed attending trial after a head injury. Many of the same concepts will apply to cases stemming from an oil field accident. A jury will be selected after counsel for the plaintiff and the defendants have conducted voir dire (which is a process of questioning potential jurors). The Plaintiff’s counsel will make an opening statement, followed by counsel for the defendants. Each side will put on their case and closing arguments will be made. The jurors will deliberate and issue a verdict regarding liability and damages. Under Texas’ comparative fault laws, any award to the Plaintiff will be reduced by the extent (if any) to which he or she is found to have contributed to the accident.
An issue that will complicate oil field injury trials is, as we discussed in a previous article, the fact that there will likely be several defendants. These parties can include the victim’s employer, the company which owned the rig, and other potential corporate entities. Each of these defendants will have the right to call their own witnesses, to present their own evidence, and to call their own experts. This can turn the trial into a highly complicated matter which could take weeks, if not months. Your counsel will need to be able to deal with each of these defendants in turn and will also need to be experienced in presenting highly complicated cases to the jury.
We cannot stress enough that you should retain a firm with significant financial resources to handle such matters. Your lawyer will be required to pay “up front” costs for experts and for attending a lengthy trial. Hiring a firm which employs board certified attorneys, and which also employs its own investigator, is a step towards making sure that your lawyers are able to deal with large corporate defendants. This is true whether you were injured in Fort Worth, Dallas, or elsewhere in Texas.