Sometimes, an accident victim that has submitted a personal injury claim will agree to the proposed settlement terms, in order to avoid the need for taking part in the following courtroom procedures.
The procedure begins with the lawyer for the plaintiff and the attorney for the defendant giving their opening statements.
After the judge and jury have heard those statements, both the judge and jury view the evidence. While viewing the evidence, the same two determiners of the outcome must hear testimony from expert witnesses.
Types of evidence shown to jury
• Diagram of spot where accident took place
• Illustration of how the involved vehicles moved, during the moments before the accident.
• The jury might hear testimony that has come from someone that has demonstrated expertise in the reconstruction of accidents.
• Testimony from any witness
• Items that were found in defendant’s vehicle: These might indicate the driver’s failure to pay full attention to the road.
• Cell phone records for both parties
• Testimony from the treating physician: This could help to confirm or deny reports on the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries.
Some pieces of evidence might be used to support an allegation from the defense team.
—Support for allegation that the victim was partly to blame
—Statements in medical record that place doubt on claims about a given injury’s level of seriousness.
Evidence not shown to jury
Any item that has elicited objections from the lawyer for the other side. The police report, or any statements from the police report
After display of evidence, the lawyers for the 2 sides present their closing arguments.
Then the judge shares facts on the applicable laws with the jury. The jury begins its deliberations and once the jury has agreed on a verdict, that 12-person body returns to the courtroom and hands verdict to judge. The judge announces the verdict.
If verdict was in favor of plaintiff, the judge announces the amount of money that the defendant owes to the plaintiff.
Must that full procedure take place?
No, if at any point, one side has decided to settle with the other side, the two parties would meet with the judge and discuss a possible settlement. Personal injury lawyer in Trenton knows that the judges never insist on completion of the full procedure, if one party has agreed to settle.
Would any other procedures take place in the same courtroom, with the same judge?
The defendant could appeal the verdict. In that case, the 2 sides would meet before an appeals’ court. That court would issue one of 3 possible decisions:
1) A decision upholding the previous verdict
2) A decision reversing the earlier verdict
3) A ruling that called for the holding of a second trial.