People get hurt every day. Unfortunately, not all personal injury cases
can be settled outside of court. Statistics reveal that about 10 percent
or less of cases proceed to trial. Whether you are a victim of
medical malpractice or seriously injured in a
car accident, it is important to understand the steps in a New York personal injury trial.
Experienced Poughkeepsie personal injury attorneys know that a trial provides an opportunity for a plaintiff to argue his
or her case before a judge or jury in order to obtain recovery for damages.
The plaintiff has the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that the defendant is liable for plaintiff's injuries by more than
50 percent in order to win a judgment. The defendant also has the opportunity
to refute the plaintiff's case. At the close of each party's case,
the judge or jury determines whether to find the defendant legally responsible
for plaintiff's injuries by examining all facts and relevant law.
Typically, the first step in a
personal injury trial is jury selection. A pool of jurors are questioned in order to determine
eligibility. The plaintiff and defendant may use "peremptory challenges"
to exclude a juror for any reason. A juror can be excluded "for cause"
if he or she has demonstrated bias that hinders the ability to be neutral.
The next step to a personal injury trial, are the opening statements provided
by each party to the lawsuit. Typically, the plaintiff is the first to
give an opening statement relating the facts of the accident and how the
defendant is at fault. The defense may also give an opening statement,
which is usually less detailed than that of the plaintiff. The defendant
may delay his or her opening statement until the plaintiff has finished
presenting its case.
During the plaintiff's case-in-chief, witnesses and experts may be
called to testify on behalf of the plaintiff. Defense counsel may cross-examine
the witnesses and experts to impeach their testimony and undermine their
credibility. Plaintiff may respond through re-direct examination in order
to rehabilitate the witnesses. The plaintiff may introduce other evidence
in the form of documents, medical reports, and photographs depicting the
scene of the accident. Such evidence is used to corroborate the plaintiff's
case in proving defendant's liability for
After plaintiff's case-in-chief, defense has the opportunity to present
its case-in-chief by calling its own witnesses to the stand and presenting
its own evidence in order to refute plaintiff's legal allegations.
At the conclusion of defendant's case-in-chief, the plaintiff has
the opportunity to rebut the defendant's arguments.
Next, both parties offer their closing arguments in order to summarize
their case in the light most favorable to them. The plaintiff tries to
establish that the evidence proves defendants’ liability for plaintiff's
injuries. The defendant tries to establish that plaintiff has not met
its burden of proof.
Finally, the judge instructs the jury on the legal standards to apply when
deciding the verdict. The jurors then deliberate with one another in an
effort to reach agreement as to the defendant's liability and appropriate
damages. The trial concludes when the jury reaches a verdict. If they
fail to do so, the judge declares a mistrial.
Learn about the steps involved in a personal injury action in the latest
article from our attorneys
available here. Find out about the discovery phase of a lawsuit in
our blog post here. Learn what a deposition is and how it works in a New York personal injury
our blog post available here. Read about what a motion is and the most common types made in a New York
personal injury action in our
blog post available here.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O'Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.