Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
If you filed a lawsuit stemming from a car crash and it failed to settle, you may be going to trial. If this is you, you may have concerns about what trial will be like, how long it will take and what the result will be. Trials may seem like fun on television, but in real life they are intimidating and stressful. Here are a few frequently asked questions that will help you understand what you may encounter at trial:
- What will my lawyer do? Your lawyer will present your case to the judge and, in some cases, a jury. He or she will make an opening statement, explaining your case, and the defendant will have the chance to do the same. Each side will call witnesses who know something about the accident or your injuries to try to prove their case. Each side will also present evidence through these witnesses such as copies of your medical bills, the police report, or other things that help establish the story. The case ends with closing statements made by each side. Then the judge or jury will deliberate and make a decision.
- What will I have to do? You will need to appear for trial and sit at a table with your attorney as he or she makes your case. You will also need to testify. When you testify, you will swear an oath to tell the truth to the court. Then, your attorney will ask you questions regarding the accident and your injuries. This is called “direct examination.” The defendant, likely the defendant’s attorney, will then get a chance to ask you questions about the accident and your injury. This is called “cross-examination” and can be difficult emotionally. Make sure that you have thoroughly discussed both your direct and cross-examination with your attorney. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will make that part of trial less stressful.
- How long will it take? A trial can take as little as an hour or it may take several days, depending on the facts of the case. Some cases involving multiple parties and expert witnesses can take weeks. Make sure that you talk to your attorney about how long he or she thinks trial will last so that you can be prepared to take time off from work, and arrange transportation or childcare, if necessary.
- Will it be expensive? Yes, it may be. It takes attorneys time to prepare for trial and they will be working for you for up to several days if your trial takes that long. However, if you have reached the point of taking your case to trial, you have likely considered how much it will cost and have decided that the cost is worth it to you to have your day in court.