This is the next post in our series on handling car accident cases in Hartford, Connecticut. Our last article discussed how to communicate with insurance adjusters after an accident has occurred. Because the insurance company will try to minimize its liability, it is important to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests. Your lawyer will work directly with the insurance company to attempt to settle your case. Depending upon the severity of your injuries and property damage involved, this process may take a significant amount of time. It is imperative to have a knowledgeable lawyer to negotiate with the adjuster on your behalf. In this post, we will explain what you can expect if your case goes to trial. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance, contact our office today.
The trial process begins with the selection of a jury. Juries are comprised of individuals from the local community. A group of potential jury members will be questioned by the lawyers before being chosen to serve in a trial. The questions are designed to determine whether a juror can be impartial. A judge may disqualify someone “for cause” if he or she decides someone may not be impartial. The attorneys have a specific number of challenges that may be used to remove a person from the jury pool for various strategic reasons. Challenges may not, however, be based on gender, race, ethnicity or other protected traits. Once the selection process is completed, the final group of jurors will be empaneled to serve at the trial.
Counsel for both parties will start the trial by making opening statements. An opening statement is an opportunity to provide an overview of the facts, legal theories and damages that will be presented during the process. This is not a time for making arguments, but rather an introduction of each party’s case.
Following the opening statements, the Plaintiff will present his or her case first by calling witnesses and entering evidence into the record. The Defendant may then cross examine the Plaintiff’s witnesses and may object to evidence. Once the Plaintiff’s case is complete, the defense will also have the opportunity to call witnesses and enter evidence. The Plaintiff is given the chance to challenge evidence and cross examine the Defendant’s witnesses as well. After this phase has finished, the Plaintiff may “rebut” the evidence or claims made by the defense. This is not a time to make new arguments, but simply to respond to the Defendant’s claims. Each side will then make closing arguments before the jury is given instructions and sent to deliberate. The jurors will consider the facts and arguments made during the trial and determine the liability of the parties, comparative fault, and the amount of damages. Once the jury’s decision is issued, the process is complete.
If your car accident case is proceeding to trial, we cannot overemphasize the importance of retaining an experienced trial attorney to represent you. The litigation process is complicated. Counsel will be required to comply with complex rules of evidence and must be able to explain the legal arguments supporting your case to the jury in an understandable and effective way. Failing to do so could negatively impact your result at trial. An experienced lawyer can help make sure your case is handled properly. Our firm has over 50 years of experience in handling jury trials in Hartford, Connecticut. Call us today to speak with a car accident attorney. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.