Baltimore Injury Lawyers: What to Expect at TrialApril 18, 2013
Sometimes personal injury cases do not settle, and they must go to trial. We see a lot of trials on television, but what can you really expect when your personal injury case goes to trial?
The first part of the trial is jury selection. The judge explains a bit about the case, then starts questioning jurors to determine whether they know anything about the case. They are asked if they can be impartial when listening to the evidence and deliberating the verdict.
If the judge finds that a juror cannot serve fairly or impartially, the judge eliminates that juror for cause. The attorneys can also use their limited number of peremptory challenges to eliminate jurors without explaining their reasoning. This goes on until selection of the jury is complete. In Maryland courts, there are six jurors in a civil case.
Next, the attorneys give their opening statements. This is their opportunity to explain their theories of the case to the jury and to let the jurors know what they can expect to hear during the trial.
Because you are the plaintiff, your attorney gets to present your case first. This is when you testify and tell the jury your side of your medical malpractice or other type of case. Your attorney also presents testimony from your other witnesses, which may include eyewitnesses, expert witnesses and doctors.
During the testimony, your attorney may present other types of evidence, such as documents and other objects. The purpose of these witnesses is to explain what happened in your case and what your injuries are. The defendant’s attorney has the opportunity to cross-examine you and your witnesses. Once your attorney is done presenting your case, the defendant’s attorney then presents defense witnesses and evidence.
After all the witnesses have testified, the attorneys give their closing statements to the jury. This is the attorneys’ last opportunity to explain to the jurors why they should vote for them. Then the judge instructs the jurors, explaining the laws that should decide the case. The jurors head into the jury room to decide your case. The amount of time it takes to reach a decision depends on the number of issues to be decided and how quickly the jurors can agree. Once the jury reaches a verdict, the jury foreperson reads the verdict in open court.