If your auto accident case isn’t going to settle, you and your lawyer have to prepare for trial. This is a lengthy process. Once discovery is finished and negotiations fail, you might wait months for your trial date. That time isn’t a waste, though. Your lawyer will be working hard over the weeks and months to carefully prepare and craft a strategy that’s hopefully going to win you fair compensation.
Pre-trial conferences help simplify things for trial. Each side can stipulate to certain facts or admissions of liability. We can settle certain issues that we don’t have to argue at trial. It limits the number of issues we need to prove to the jury. With the judge, we’ll create a schedule for when briefs and motions are due. We’ll also, one more time, figure out if we can settle the issue without going to trial.
By the time discovery is over and we’re preparing for trial, we have all of the evidence we’re going to use. This might include a crash report created by the police, photos of the damaged vehicles, photos of your injuries, your testimony, a medical expert’s testimony, and more.
Each piece of evidence is an exhibit. We’ll carefully label and organize our exhibits. We want them easily accessible at trial, so we can grab the next piece of evidence quickly and not waste the jury’s time.
We’ll settle on the witnesses we’ll call to the stand during the trial. We want to limit how many witnesses we need to establish your case. More isn’t always better.
Jurors have lives they want to get back to as soon as possible. Using witnesses that don’t add much to your case or offer duplicate testimony draws out the proceedings, which the jury might not take well. We decide which witnesses offer the greatest impact.
In most personal injury cases, we’ll want you to testify. You’re the best witness about what you experienced and your injuries. We might also have a medical expert or accident reconstruction expert testify.
Another vital step is preparing each witness for trial. Most people have never had to testify in court before. It’s intimidating. We make sure each witness knows what we’re going to ask and how to best answer. We don’t want witnesses to memorize their testimony.
Instead, we want them to understand the most important facts to get out to the jury as well as the facts to downplay because they’re less favorable to the case.
We can’t predict what a defense attorney will ask, but we can make an educated guess. After years of taking auto accidents to trial, we know how defense lawyers work and what they’ll focus on.
We know the common strategies they use to sow doubt in the jurors’ minds. We prepare each witness for the questions the defense might ask them and how to remain calm and answer truthfully under stressful circumstances.
Someone we want to testify might not do so willingly. If that person’s testimony is critical to your case, we’ll ask the court to issue a subpoena requiring that person to appear at the trial.
We prepare for any potential question of law that could come up in your case. We thoroughly research all of these issues so we can address them in court when necessary. We might need to know case law to argue for or against a motion or to establish a certain argument with the jury.
We might use a formal or informal focus group to test the strength of various themes of our case. A focus group isn’t meant to see if we’ll win or lose a case. It’s meant to gain reactions to certain themes we might want to use in our strategy.
A motion in limine is a pre-trial motion asking the judge to exclude certain evidence. Either side can file this type of motion and ask for certain types or pieces of evidence to be excluded based on the Rules of Evidence.
We want to file this type of motion as soon as possible. It helps us to have the judge’s decisions to finalize our plan for trial.
We want our argument to flow, from the opening statements to the final sentence of our closing statement. We want to set the stage for the jury, help them imagine your experience, and prove each fact of the case like building blocks, one on top of the other.
This requires careful thought. We’ll dedicate a great deal of time to drafting our opening statements, questions for witnesses, questions to cross-examine the defense witnesses, and our closing remarks.
A judge might require us to file a written memorandum. In these documents, we outline the facts that support our claim and the type of relief we want (compensation). We’ll list our witnesses and exhibits.
We’ll also point out the issues of law we have to address at trial. These documents make sure the judge is fully prepared for the case and can proactively address any issues they notice.
After months of preparation, it’s time to select the jury. We want to get you a jury of peers that are fair and likely to be sympathetic to your situation. This takes careful planning.
We’ll carefully consider the questions we ask potential jurors and the individuals we don’t want to sit on the jury. We’ll ask questions related to the potential jurors’ backgrounds, experiences (like if they or a loved one have ever been in a car accident before), and their opinions and beliefs.
Everyone has unconscious biases. Our questions are meant to identify any biases that might work against us at trial. It takes time to craft good questions.
We want to have a conversation with potential jurors as best we can to draw out honest answers, see a bit of their personalities, and have time to observe their body language. All of this and more goes into noticing people who might not be a good fit for the jury.
Once the jury’s chosen, it’s time to get started. Over the previous months, we’ll have worked hard to address and prepare for all the potential issues in your case. Our goal is to have a smooth trial with no surprises that convinces the jury your allegations are true. The best possible outcome is a decision in your favor and compensation to cover your past and future injuries.
We’re ready to fight for you. We’re ready to be your ally. And we’re ready to start right now. Don’t waste time, contact our law offices today.FREE CASE EVALUATION – (312) 236-2900
Serious injuries don’t happen on a 9-to-5 schedule, which is why we are always available to help if you have been hurt. Our team is available around the clock to provide the support you need.