Updated September 1, 2021
If the case is going to go to trial, there is a process that takes place before the trial ever begins and then as the trial is underway.
First of all, we have to prepare for the trial. That means sitting down with the client and talking to the client about how the trial will go, what to expect, the length of time it will take, what the client’s testimony would be, who the best witnesses are going to be, and what exhibits we’re going to be using to show the jury during the trial. Then, during the trial itself, the client would be expected to be there for the entire trial.
Most cases are heard before a jury. In Indiana, we have a six-person jury. Most trials last two or three days, although more complicated cases can last quite a bit longer than that. So, during the trial, you first of all pick the jury, and the attorney will be asking the potential jurors questions. The client will be sitting there listening and can give input to the attorney in terms of who they think might be a good person to have on the jury and who would not be so great.
Then, you have an opening statement where the attorney summarizes what the evidence is. We actually put on evidence by calling witnesses to the stand, and the client would be one of the witnesses—and probably the most important witness who would testify in the case—and the injured person would explain how the accident happened, what the injuries are, and how they’ve been affected. Typically, at least one doctor or more would be called as a witness to explain the injuries and so the jury can understand not just what the injury is but how it affects the person on an ongoing basis if that is the situation.
At the end of the evidence, the defense would have a chance to put on whatever evidence they want to, then we would have final argument where the attorneys argue the case to the jury and the judge then instructs the jury on the law. The judge decides what the law is on the case, and the judge tells the jury here is the law. Then the jury goes back to deliberate and reaches a verdict, which has to be unanimous in Indiana. In a civil case, one of the most difficult parts of going through a trial is sitting waiting for the jury to come back with a verdict that might take 30 minutes, or it might take several hours, or it might take several days.
So going through a trial is difficult. It’s not an easy thing. We try to prepare our clients so that they know what to expect so they’re as comfortable as they can be during the trial.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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