This is the fifth post in our series on the handling of pedestrian accidents in Austin, Texas. Our last post discussed the role of experts in pedestrian accident cases. It is important to retain the necessary professionals so that you may fully establish your damages. In this article we will discuss another important topic – what to expect at trial in such a matter. Understanding what to expect from the trial process can help a Plaintiff to be better prepared. We strongly suggest that you contact a personal injury attorney immediately if you have been hit while crossing the street.
Pedestrian accident trials are somewhat similar to what you may have seen on television. A group of potential jurors will be chosen based on local voter information. The attorneys for each side will then ask questions of the potential jurors. These questions will examine issues such as biases, whether a juror feels they can be impartial, and their opinions of the civil justice system. The Judge will also ask questions of the potential jurors. If it is clear that someone cannot be objective then the Court will remove the person from the jury pool “for cause.” In addition to people being removed for cause, the attorneys for each side will each have challenges which they may use for removing a potential juror; attorneys, however, may not remove a juror for discriminatory reasons centering around ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. Once the jury has been selected, it will be time for opening statements.
An opening statement will be made by the Plaintiff’s attorney and the Defendant’s counsel will follow. Opening statements are not argument. They are, instead, a chance for each lawyer to tell the jurors their theory of the case, which witnesses will testify, what testimony witnesses can be expected to offer, and what relief it is that each side is requesting. If one side’s counsel begins presenting argument, meaning that they are stating why they believe the other side’s statement to be wrong, then counsel may object and the jury will be instructed to not consider the statements made.
The Plaintiff will present their case first. This will usually consist of the Plaintiff testifying about the incident. This testimony will include how the incident happened, how the incident has impacted their life, and how they have been damaged financially. Witnesses to the accident and of the injuries, if any, will also be asked to testify in regards to what they saw. Experts will also be called to offer their opinions. The defense will then have their turn to present a case. After the defense has concluded their presentation, the Plaintiff will present a “rebuttal” which is limited to facts presented by the defense. At the close of evidence, closing arguments will be made by each attorney and the jury will then deliberate. The jurors will give a verdict regarding fault and damages.
The process described above in simple terms, can be complicated in practice, and the rules of evidence must be followed. It is important that you retain counsel with extensive trial experience. Dan Christensen is a former military member who has taken dozens and dozens of cases to trial. He prides himself on providing an aggressive level of representation and believes in standing up for victims over insurance company profits. We understand that you are facing a serious situation and we will take it seriously. Contact us today to speak with an Austin pedestrian accident attorney.
We also service Travis County cities which include Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, the Williamson County cities of Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander, as well as other areas of Texas.