This is the next post in my series on the handling of truck accident cases in Peoria, Illinois. My previous article discussed how damages are calculated after a truck related injury. There are several components in the determination of a victim’s damages. These components include past and future lost wages, past and future medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and possible punitive damages. The calculation of these amounts can involve several variables and should not be considered straightforward. Retaining an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters can help to ensure that your claims are presented properly. In this article I will discuss another important topic – what one should expect at trial in such matters. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a lawyer.
I have previously discussed the process of taking a wrongful death case to trial. That same process applies to cases involving tractor trailer accidents. The process will begin with jury selection. A pool of potential jurors will be chosen from our local community. The attorneys for each side will be able to ask questions of the potential jurors. Each side will be given a number of challenges which they may use to remove jurors from the pool. It is important to note that jurors may not be removed for reasons involving ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. The Judge will also ask questions of the potential jurors and, if it is clear that an individual cannot remain impartial, then the Court will remove them from the pool for cause. Once the jurors have been chosen then the jury will be empaneled.
The next step in the process is for each side to make an opening statement. This is not a time for argument. Instead, the attorneys for each side will use their opening statements to describe the evidence, which will be presented to the jury. The attorneys will also use their opening statements to explain the relief that they will be asking for at the end of the case. The Plaintiff will then present their witnesses and evidence. The defendant(s) will then present their case and the Plaintiff will follow with rebuttal evidence. This rebuttal period may not be used by the Plaintiff to raise new arguments. Instead, this part of the trial may only be used to present evidence which directly responds to any claims made by the defendant(s). After the close of evidence, the jury will hear closing arguments and will be asked to deliberate. The jurors will return a verdict which rules on all issues, including liability, comparative fault, and damages. At this point, the case will be concluded.
While the foregoing process may seem straightforward, it is not. Trials are complex affairs and the rules of evidence will be enforced by the Judge. Having an attorney who is experienced in the process will help to ensure that these rules are followed. Failing to do so can result in the jury not being able to consider all of the relevant evidence. Also, it is likely necessary that expert witnesses will be testifying at trial and it will be important that counsel present that testimony in a way that is easy to follow and understand. Finally, it will be important to present the case in a manner which allows the jurors to follow the chain of events. For these reasons, it is highly suggested that you retain a firm with an emphasis in personal injury law.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria truck accident lawyer. My office understands that this is a serious time in your life and we will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. In addition to Peoria, our firm also serves clients in the Illinois cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington.