This is the next post in a series of articles discussing handling a wrongful death case in Laredo, Texas. The previous article focused on the importance of expert witnesses in wrongful death matters. Depending upon the facts of the case, numerous experts could be involved to help demonstrate the defendant’s responsibility for the accident and the amount of damages to which the survivors are entitled. This post will focus on another important topic: what to expect if a wrongful death case proceeds to trial. I cannot overemphasize the importance of retaining an experienced personal injury attorney to represent your interests in a wrongful death matter. If you have lost a loved one, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
If the parties are unable to reach a settlement in a wrongful death matter, the case will proceed in the legal system to a trial. In Texas, a wrongful death trial will be a trial by jury. The first step in the process is jury selection. Potential jurors are summoned for duty. The court will question and remove jurors whom the judge finds incapable of being unbiased. Attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant may also question the panel and “challenge” jurors who cannot be fair, and both sides are allowed to strike a certain number of unfavorable potential jurors and remove them from the pool.
Once the selection of a jury is finalized, counsel for each side present their opening statements. The plaintiff’s attorney will present its case and then the defendant will have an opportunity to present evidence. As discussed previously in this series, wrongful death trials often involve many expert witnesses. They will testify at the trial regarding the causes of the accident, accident reconstruction, potential damages incurred by the survivors, etc. Following closing arguments, the jurors will deliberate and, once they arrive at a decision, render a verdict. If the plaintiff’s case is successful, the jury will also award damages.
I cannot stress enough the importance of retaining counsel with personal injury trial experience to represent your interests. A knowledgeable attorney will understand the various pre-trial and trial procedures that must be followed. Furthermore, the lawyer will be experienced in following the rules of evidence to ensure that the expert testimony and other types of evidence may be admitted properly in support of your case. Finally, counsel will trial experience will be able to convey your legal arguments to the jurors in a clear and understandable way.
I have extensive experience in Laredo personal injury matters and am ready to assist you. If you need assistance with a wrongful death case, contact my office to speak with an attorney. I also serve other areas of south Texas.