What Should I Expect in a Jury Trial?

Empty jury box in a courtroomIf you’ve been in a car accident and are considering working with a personal injury attorney, you may be wondering how a jury trial works and what to expect. In Tennessee, a personal injury jury trial consists of five basic phases, each of which has a key role in achieving a favorable outcome for victims of driver negligence. We discuss each phase of a jury trial here.

Voir Dire or Jury Selection

During this initial phase in a personal injury dispute, each party participates in selecting an objective jury to ensure a fair trial for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Attorneys ask questions of each potential juror in an attempt to identify biases that may affect the outcome of the case. Each attorney is able to dismiss a certain number of jurors.

Opening Statements

During the opening statements in a jury trial, each party is invited to present factual information to support their later arguments. This allows each party to present the case and provide the jury with context for the discussion to follow.

Plaintiff’s Proof

In the plaintiff’s proof phase, key witnesses and subject-matter experts are introduced to provide proof that the defendant’s actions leading up to the accident were negligent. Expert witnesses could include:

  • Experts on the defendant’s negligence
  • Medical experts to clarify the severity and scope of injuries as well as personal, medical, and financial ramifications

The plaintiff and supporting witnesses may also choose to testify to major changes in the victim’s life following, and because of, the accident. They may also provide information supporting the claim that the defendant acted with negligence. Witnesses may include:

  • Friends
  • Family members
  • Neighbors
  • Coworkers
  • Employers
  • Eye witnesses

Defense Proof

In this phase, the defense has the chance to dispute the plaintiff’s argument of negligence, as well as any claims for losses or harms to the plaintiff. The defense may similarly use the testimonies of witnesses and experts to support an argument.

Closing Arguments

During the closing arguments in a personal injury trial, both parties are invited to argue their sides one last time. With an understanding of relevant laws, the jury is then allowed to deliberate over the facts of the case. Tennessee law requires a unanimous jury agreement to deliver a judgement.

Much preparation is needed to successfully navigate the process of taking a personal injury case to trial. For assistance with your case, contact GriffithLaw today.

John Griffith
Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney