This is the next post in a series of articles discussing bicycle accident cases in Laredo, Texas. My previous post discussed the various reasons expert witnesses are often needed and the roles that they play in bike crash litigation. Whether required to establish the defendant’s liability for the accident or to calculate the damages incurred by the victim, specialists are often called upon to provide testimony regarding matters in their respective fields of expertise. This article will provide an overview of what to expect during a bicycle accident trial. Litigation can be intimidating and complicated. Retaining an experienced trial attorney can help ensure that your case is handled appropriately and your legal interests are protected. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Earlier in this series, I discussed the process of negotiating a potential settlement with the defendant’s insurance company after an accident occurs. When a satisfactory settlement agreement cannot be reached between the parties prior to the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations, the victim’s attorney must initiate a lawsuit to preserve their right to sue the responsible party. Many cases are settled after the lawsuit is filed, however, those that are not will proceed to a trial. It is important, therefore, to have a basic understanding of what to expect during that process.
Personal injury accident cases, including bicycle crashes, are tried by a jury. Selection of the jurors who will hear the case is the first step in the trial process. A pool of potential jurors will be summoned to court and subjected to a series of questions presented by the judge and the attorneys for both parties. The questions are designed to identify jurors who may be biased in their evaluation of the case and should be removed from the pool. The Judge and attorneys are permitted to excuse jurors on this basis. Individuals may not be excluded, however, for any discriminatory reasons, such as race, religion, sex, or ethnicity.
After the final jury is empaneled, the case begins with the attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendant making opening statements. During this phase, the lawyers provide an overview of their version of the facts of the case and legal positions, which they intend to prove during the trial. Afterward, the attorney for the victim presents their case by calling witnesses to testify and presenting evidence. The lawyer for the defendant then does the same. As mentioned previously in this series, both parties may call one or more expert witnesses during this phase of the trial regarding the respective liability of each party, accident reconstruction issues, and the victim’s damages. When the defendant’s attorney has rested their case, the plaintiff’s counsel will have the chance to rebut evidence presented by the defense. Each party will issue their closing arguments, summarizing and reiterating their key points to the jury. The jurors will then deliberate and issue a verdict. If they decide in favor of the victim, they will also award damages.