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What to Expect When Going to Trial in Virginia

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What to Expect When Going to Trial in Virginia

April 18, 2018 by The Parrish Law Firm

If all your efforts have failed to get you what you and your injury lawyer believe is a fair settlement, it might be time for you to consider your final option: Going to trial. First, you should understand the risks associated with going to trial. It is possible that the jury may side against you. Your injury lawyer should be able to lay out all the potential trial outcomes for you. Second, you should understand that often trials can be drawn out, exhausting and pricey. You can expect your trial to last anywhere from a few days to more than a week. If you are unsure if you should be going to trial, reach out to our team and we can help you weigh your best options and prepare for your trial thoroughly.

When Should You Consider Going to Trial

There are many instances where you may consider elevating your case to a trial. However, the most common scenario is when you feel that you are getting a lesser settlement than you deserve, whether that be from the other party or their insurance company. Under such circumstances, it may be time to gear up for the courtroom.

Steps of a Personal Injury Trial

It is the Judge’s duty to keep the trial running swiftly and ruling on any objections presented. It is also the Judge’s duty to review evidence and instruct the jury on what is law. If your case involves a jury, the trial will involve their selection, opening statements from both parties partaking in the trial, the calling on witnesses of both parties, closing arguments, a jury deliberation and the final verdict decided by the jury and delivered by the Judge. There is always possibility of a mistrial or a hung jury (the jury cannot agree on a verdict). A jury’s verdict can be appealed, but only under very limited circumstances in Virginia, which has much more limited appellate rights than most other states.

Jury Selection

Each juror is chosen from a large jury pool. Each potential juror first goes through a vigorous process of determining whether there are any prejudices or biases present. Then both the plaintiff and defense attorneys choose to dismiss jury members that may not be favorable based on their revealed biases. This process of trying to choose the most “perfect” jury is often times tiresome and lengthy.

Opening Statement

Opening statements from both attorneys are made to give the jury a map and understanding of the case. These statements are not considered evidence of any kind.

The Trial

First, the plaintiff will present his/her case through the plaintiff’s attorney and witnesses to establish things like:

  • How did the accident occur?
  • What injuries were sustained?
  • How have those injuries affected the plaintiff’s quality of life?

Expert witnesses such as medical examiners and professionals in case-specific fields may be called during the plaintiff’s case. These witnesses are able to establish, back-up or deny the plaintiff’s claims on how their injuries have affected their life, their work, etc.

The defendant is then able to cross-examine the witnesses and the plaintiff. After this, the plaintiff’s attorney is able to speak to the witnesses and the plaintiff once again to clarify what the defendant’s attorney had asked. Once this is complete, it is now the defendant’s turn to present their evidence. They defendant’s attorney can now call upon witnesses to be questioned and they may then be cross-examined by the plaintiff’s attorney. Finally, the defendant’s attorney can clarify all points made by the plaintiff’s attorney during what is called redirect examination.

Closing Argument

Each attorney makes their closing statements, incorporating the evidence revealed in the trial. The closing statements are a summary of the trial that has ensued, while also utilizing analogy and other effective techniques of persuasion. After this is complete, the Judge will instruct the jury on how to proceed with determining the verdict.

Jury’s Verdict

Finally, the jury will present its verdict and the Judge will make the final rulings and close out the case.

Looking for an Injury Lawyer?

If you are unsure about if you require a trial or still need a Virginia injury lawyer for trial, contact us at jparrish@theparrishlawfirm.com or call us at (571) 229 1800.

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