If a car accident case does not end in a settlement, the plaintiff has the option of advancing the matter to court, which entails a number of additional steps and procedures that can easily confuse someone unaccustomed to civil litigation. A skilled car accident lawyer could help you effectively and efficiently navigate car accident trials in Tulsa, so you can maximize your chances of a beneficial resolution to your claim.
Car accident trials may be jury or bench trials. For strategic reasons, both sides can waive the right to a jury trial and try the case in front of a judge if the case is complex or if there are a lot of rules of law that need to be communicated. If the attorneys decide to try the case before a judge, the judge replaces the jury, decides who has proven their case, makes a ruling, and submits a judgment.
Jury trials for car accident cases in Tulsa have voir dire, meaning that attorneys for both parties may ask jurors questions to ensure that they can be impartial, are unbiased, and do not know any of the plaintiffs or defendants. Through that process, the attorneys get strikes for cause and can remove potential jurors for a number of reasons.
Once the trial begins, the plaintiff presents their case first because the burden of proving liability is on them. After the plaintiff presents their case, the defendant can present their case and call their witnesses, as well as cross-examine the plaintiff’s witnesses. Their specific strategy would depend on the facts of the case and if the defense is going to call additional witnesses that the plaintiff did not.
The plaintiff also presents their closing arguments first, which is their opportunity to summarize the testimony that came out during trial. If the defense brings up something in their own closing arguments that the plaintiff’s attorney feels was wrong or misrepresented, the court would allow the plaintiff to have a rebuttal closing argument to address those issues. The case is then over, and the jury deliberates.
The length of time this process takes can depend on the complexity of the case and the efficiency of the court, as well as how many witnesses are required and how many issues must be proven to the jury. The more witnesses required to establish liability and prove one’s theory, the longer the trial will likely be. Trials for more complex cases can last up to three weeks, but trials for more straightforward cases may be over in a day or two.
Tulsa car accident trials proceed in roughly the same manner if there are multiple defendants. After the plaintiff presents their case first, the first defendant would deliver their case in chief, followed by the second defendant, and so on. Every defense witness who is called may be cross-examined by the plaintiff.
Multiple defendants add an additional element to the trial wherein another party presents their own case, but there are still cross-examinations for each witness and each party. If there is more than one defendant, they may each contend that the other is liable instead of themselves and cross-examine each other’s witnesses in addition to the plaintiff’s, which can make for a longer trial.
Health privacy laws are typically addressed well before trial, as the parties may request medical records to be admitted during trial. Privacy issues and laws often do not come up during trial because they have already been worked out before appearing in court.
A car accident lawyer’s preparation can help navigate difficulties during car accident trials in Tulsa. Part of an experienced attorney’s role is predicting the defense’s strategies, the order in which their witnesses will be called, whether or not they are going to have expert testimony, and any rebuttal testimony or cross-examination opportunities that those experts may present.
Navigating a trial successfully is a difficult task that requires hours and hours of preparation. To ensure you have professional help with your case, call today.