What Can I Expect If My New York City Pedestrian Accident Case Goes to Trial?
For most people who are hurt in a pedestrian accident, a quick and fair financial settlement is the primary goal. While most of these claims ultimately settle, the reality is that some are destined for trial by jury. You can expect the trial process to complex. Be aware, however, that most of the work in a pedestrian injury case occurs before the trial ever starts. This includes depositions and preparation with the help of your attorney.
Our experienced New York City pedestrian accident lawyers at Douglas and London can walk you through every step of the trial process. While it is understandable that testifying at trial is stressful, proper preparation can help your testimony go smoothly. See an explanation of the steps during a pedestrian accident trial below.
While not mandatory, the vast majority of pedestrian injury trials are heard by a jury. The attorneys for each side, along with the judge, must select the members of the jury before a trial can commence. This process often occurs without the parties to the lawsuit present.
In the beginning, a panel of roughly 30 potential jurors will enter the courtroom. The attorneys will then go through a process known as voir dire, which allows them to question the jurors about their background and views on the civil justice system. These questions are designed to identify jurors with potential conflicts or biases. The attorneys will use this process to narrow the jury down to six people.
Once the jury is set, the trial can begin. The opening arguments are an opportunity for both sides to address the jury for the first time. Starting with the plaintiff, both sides will have a chance to give the jury an overview of the case. While they can highlight the evidence a jury can expect to see, this is not the time for calling witnesses or making conclusive arguments about the law. Once the plaintiff has finished their opening argument, the defendant has their turn.
Following opening arguments, it is time for the parties to present their evidence. Again, the plaintiff goes first. Every pedestrian accident is different, so the evidence that the parties will rely on at trial will differ from case to case. In general, there are two purposes a piece of evidence can serve. First, the plaintiff must demonstrate proof of liability. After all, they are not entitled to financial compensation without first proving the defendant was at fault. Second, the plaintiff will also need evidence to establish the amount of damages they are entitled to.
This evidence can take a variety of forms. Testimony from witnesses or even from the victim is commonly used to establish fault. Photographic images can also help establish fault or damages. In cases that involve severe injuries, the plaintiff’s New York City personal injury lawyers can make use of medical bills and expert witnesses to establish the amount of compensation the plaintiff is entitled to recover.
Once the plaintiff rests their case, the defendant has the opportunity to present their evidence. It could rebut the claims of the plaintiff or establish that some other party– even the plaintiff– was responsible for the accident.
At the close of evidence, both parties will have a final chance to address the jury. During the closing arguments, the plaintiff can draw legal conclusions through the use of the evidence presented to the jury. After the plaintiff concludes their closing argument, the defendant has their chance to address the jury.
Deliberation and verdict
At the end of the closing arguments, the judge will give the jury instructions on how to proceed. This includes written forms assisting the jury in deciding on both liability and damages. Once they make their decision, they will advise the judge. The judge is then handed the verdict, which is read aloud. If the jury rules in your favor, the court will enter a judgment for the amount of compensation you have established you deserve.
Contact us for a free consultation
A dedicated personal injury attorney from Douglas & London can help you maximize your chances of a favorable verdict at trial. To learn more, call right away to schedule a free consultation.