This is the next post in my series on the handling of Atlanta, Georgia truck accident cases. My last article discussed the need for expert witnesses in cases involving a commercial trucking wreck. Experts are necessary in such cases due to the fact that layperson witnesses are not permitted to testify as to issues which require specialized knowledge or skill. It is important that you retain a personal injury lawyer, who is experienced in dealing with experts, in such cases. In this article I will discuss what one should expect from the trial process. If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Trial will begin with the selection of a jury. Potential jurors are chosen out of a pool of individuals from the community. The attorneys for each side can ask potential jurors questions (a process known as voir dire) to determine whether or not an individual is capable of approaching the case without bias. The Judge may also ask questions of the potential jurors. If it is clear from an individual’s answers that they cannot remain unbiased then the Judge may remove them from the pool for “cause.” If the Judge does not remove a juror then the the attorneys for each side will have a limited number of challenges with which they may remove someone from the pool. An individual cannot be removed from the jury pool on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or some other protected characteristic.
Opening statements will be made once the jury has been empaneled. This is not a time for argument. Instead, the attorneys for each side describe the evidence which they plan to present. If a side begins to argue why the other is “wrong,” then the other side may object. The Plaintiff will then present his or her case. The defense will follow with their evidence and witnesses. The Plaintiff will then follow with “rebuttal” evidence. Rebuttal is not a time to raise new issues. This portion of the case may only be used for a direct response to any claims made by the defense.
Once the evidence is presented then closing arguments will be made to the jury. The jurors will deliberate and issue a verdict. The verdict will include a finding as to whether the defendant(s) should be found liable for the trucking accident, the extent to which the victim was damaged, and the extent to which comparative fault applies. The trial process will then be concluded.
One point I cannot stress enough is that the trial process is complicated. The rules of evidence are complex. It is important that a Plaintiff’s lawyer understand how evidence must be presented or important information may otherwise be ruled inadmissible. Also, it is crucial that your counsel understand the process for presenting a case in ways which the jurors understand. Your choice of counsel can have an impact on the outcome of your case.
I am an Atlanta truck accident attorney who was first admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1978. I have taken many cases to trial and am familiar with the process. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also service the Fulton County cities of Sandy Springs, Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton, and East Point, the DeKalb County cities of Dunwoody, Decatur, Brookhaven, Redan, and, the Cobb County cities of Marietta, Smyrna, Mableton, and Kennesaw, the Fayette County cities of Fayetteville and Peachtree, the Hall County city of Gainesville, as well as other areas throughout the state of Georgia.