Monthly Archives

February 2014

Cross Examination and Personal Injury Litigation

Cross-Examination

After direct testimony concludes, the defense attorney cross-examines you. This attorney attempts to discredit you, if possible. He or she may try to show that your version of the accident is unreliable. He or she will also undoubtedly try to prove that your losses and damages are not as bad as you would like the jury to believe. This is where the deposition testimony is so…

Your Testimony in Personal Injury Litigation

YOUR TESTIMONY

Your case usually begins with your testimony, both on direct and cross examination. Your testimony is perhaps the most important part of the trial. No matter how skillful and prepared the lawyer is, if the jury does not like or does not believe you, the result will not be favorable.

Direct Examination

Direct examination involves your testimony in response to your…

Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Litigation

Burden of Proof

Insurance company lawyers love to talk to juries about how the plaintiff has the burden of proof in personal injury cases. This is true, but generally rather meaningless. The burden of proof in civil cases requires you, the injured plaintiff, to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. To win in a personal injury case, your evidence needs merely to outweigh, by any…

Opening Statements in Personal Injury Litigation

OPENING STATEMENTS

Jury trials begin with the attorneys’ opening statements. Your lawyer addresses the jury first. The defense lawyer can choose to address the jury immediately after your lawyer finishes or wait until you have finished presenting all of your evidence. Most defense lawyers open immediately after your lawyer’s opening.

Opening statements are an extremely important stage of…

Voir Dire and Removal for Cause

Removal for Cause

Jurors who appear through their answers to be prejudiced in some way concerning a matter of importance in the trial can be removed for cause. There is no limit to the number of jurors who can be struck for cause. If, for example, a juror admits that he or she believes that people who have been injured due to the negligence of another person should not be able to sue for…

Peremptory Challenges in Jury Selection for Personal Injury Cases

Peremptory Challenges

Each attorney in a one plaintiff/one defendant case is permitted during voir dire to eliminate or strike a set number of jurors from the jury without stating the reason. These are called peremptory challenges. In cases with multiple plaintiffs or defendants, the judge decides the number of strikes available to each attorney. There are many different theories that…

Exploring Coverage Under Homeowners Insurance

Perhaps the most misunderstood of insurance coverages is homeowners.  Did you know that your homeowners insurance may cover you for losses that occur away from your home?  It all depends on the language found in the small print of your policy.  Your insurance company hopes you’ll never take on the daunting challenge of deciphering that fine print.  It’s time to change that.

Insurers…

How an Attorney Picks a Jury for a Personal Injury Case

Your Attorney’s Role

The first set of questions your lawyer will ask may involve whether any of the potential jurors know you or the defendant, any of the witnesses in the case, the attorneys, or the judge, or if any of the jurors have heard anything about the case. This kind of knowledge probably excludes an individual from sitting on the jury, since they may have preconceived notions about…

Picking a Jury for a Personal Injury Case

SELECTING THE JURY

An important stage in the course of a jury trial takes place at the very outset of the proceedings, namely, the voir dire (generally pronounced vwa dear) of the jury. Voir dire consists of questions the attorneys ask the potential jurors in order to determine which of them will actually sit on the jury panel. There is a sample set of voir dire questions in Appendix A. (s…

Trial of a Personal Injury Case

If the personal injury case does not settle shortly after conclusion of the depositions, it is time to begin preparing for trial. It is necessary for you and your lawyer to meet in advance of trial to prepare. There is nothing wrong with a lawyer and client meeting to run through possible questions and answers.

Every lawyer prepares his or her witnesses. Good lawyers prepare exhaustively in…

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