Judge speaking to lawyersThis is the next post in my series on the handling of pedestrian accident cases in Peoria and other Illinois areas. My last article discussed how long it may take to settle a pedestrian accident case. It is important to understand that it may take substantial time to reach a settlement as a victim should not accept an offer until their long-term prognosis is reasonably known. Accepting an offer early can result in the injured individual receiving less than what they actually deserve. An experienced attorney can assist you in understanding when it is, and is not, a good time to accept an offer. In this article I will be discussing what to expect from the trial process. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a personal injury lawyer.

A Peoria jury will decide the issues of liability and damages

I have previously discussed the process of attending trial in accident cases involving commercial vehicles. That same process applies to matters where a pedestrian has been hit by an oncoming car. The attorneys for each side will choose a jury from a pool of individuals who reside in the Peoria community. The process of selecting a jury will include asking questions of the potential jurors and removing them through challenges. A potential can be removed if their answers make it appear that they cannot be impartial. A juror may not be removed, however, due to reasons involving race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. Once the jurors have been selected then the jury will be empaneled and each side may commence opening arguments.

The Plaintiff will present their evidence and witnesses first. This will include any necessary testimony from experts regarding liability and damages. It can also include the admission of camera footage, should any exist, testimony from eyewitnesses and more. The defense will then present their evidence and witnesses. This will include any experts which the defense wishes to call in order to dispute claims regarding damages, liability, etc. The Plaintiff will then follow with “rebuttal” evidence. This part of the case cannot be used to submit new information. Rebuttal may only be used to directly address claims which were made by the defense. After rebuttal, each side will make a closing argument and the jury will deliberate. The jurors will deliver a verdict regarding liability (including any determination of comparative fault) as well as damages. The trial will then be considered over.

The importance of comparative fault in Illinois pedestrian accident cases

I have previously discussed how Illinois’ comparative fault laws impact pedestrian accident cases. As I explained in that article, a victim’s damages will be reduced by the extent to which the jury believes they were partially responsible for the accident. This means, for example, that if a victim suffers $100,000 in damages then they will only receive $70,000 if the jury finds that they were thirty percent responsible for the incident ($100k – 30%). The determination of comparative fault can be highly subjective and it is possible that two juries would reach different determinations when analyzing the same set of facts. This means that it is crucial to have an attorney who is able to present such issues to the jury in a way that is clear, concise, and on point.

If you or a loved one have been injured then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria pedestrian accident lawyer. My office is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals over those of insurance companies. We strive to provide the highest level of service in every matter we handle and we look forward to being of assistance. Contact us online or by telephone today to get started. Our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.