This is the next post in our series on the handling of Hartford, Connecticut trucking accident cases. Our last article discussed the need for expert witnesses in matters involving a commercial truck accident. It is important to understand that lay people cannot testify in regards to complex topics which require specialized knowledge. An expert must be retained to offer such testimony. It is, therefore, important that you retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with such professionals. In this article we will discuss another important topic – what to expect from the trial process. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
Trial will begin with the selection of a jury. A pool of potential jurors will be chosen from our local community. The attorneys for each side will ask questions of the potential jurors and the judge may ask his or her own questions. If it is clear from a potential juror’s answers that they cannot be impartial then the Judge may remove the individual from the pool for “cause.” Also, counsel for each side will have a certain number of challenges with which they may remove potential jurors from the pool. A juror may not, however, be removed for reasons related to ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other “protected” characteristic. Once the final group of jurors has been selected, the jury will be empaneled.
The next step in the trial process is for each attorney to make an opening statement to the jury. Opening statements are not a time for argument. Instead, each side will make a verbal statement outlining the evidence which the jurors can expect to hear, and the relief that will be requested at the end of the case.
The Plaintiff will then present his or her evidence and witnesses. The defendants can object to the introduction of certain evidence and have the opportunity to cross examine the Plaintiff’s witnesses. Upon completion of the Plaintiff’s case, the defendant(s) present their case by calling witnesses and entering evidence. Again Plaintiff has the right to object and to cross examine defense witnesses. After Defendants are finished, the Plaintiff will follow with “rebuttal” evidence. Rebuttal is not a time to raise new arguments; it is only an opportunity for the Plaintiff to directly rebut any claims which were made by the defendant. Each side will then make a closing argument and the jurors will be sent to deliberate. The jurors will consider the evidence and decide issues regarding liability, comparative fault, and damages. After deliberations have been completed, the jurors will issue their decision and the case will be completed.
One point we cannot stress enough is that it is important to retain an attorney who is experienced in the litigation process. Trials are a complicated process. The rules of evidence and procedure will be strictly enforced. If your attorney does not present your case properly then it is possible that the jury will not be given a chance to consider all relevant evidence. Also, if your case is not presented in a clear and concise manner, which is understandable by non-attorneys, then your chances of recovery may be limited. Experienced counsel can often help to ensure that your case is handled properly. Our Hartford truck accident lawyers are experienced in the conducting of jury trials and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 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.