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Houma Car Accident Trial Process

If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, contact an attorney as soon as possible. The Houma car accident trial process can be more rewarding with a lawyer by your side. A devoted car accident lawyer with years of experience can help you receive compensation for any losses you may have endured during this difficult time.

Jury Vs Bench Trials

Car accident trials worth more than $50,000 in Louisiana are jury trials. Any case under $50,000 is a judge-tried case. Certain defendants have the option of judge or jury. This option is generally given to public bodies, such as cities, parish governments, state governments, agencies of the parishes and the state, the sheriff, and the police departments.

At any time on a jury trial, both parties may agree to a judge-tried case, so all trials do not all have to be juries and they do not all have to be judge cases. It depends on agreement, who is the defendant, and/or the size of the case.

Choosing Jurors

The Houma car accident trial process involves selection of a jury known as voir dire, which is French for to show or to tell. Potential jurors are questioned to determine whether they have any preconceived biases which would prevent them from fairly listening to the evidence and rendering a verdict in the case. Lawyers may have to bring 75 or 100 people into the courtroom, and the parties and the judge select 12 jurors to hear evidence and decide the case.

Opening and Closing Statements

Both parties give opening statements in Houma car accident trials. The purpose is to give their personal account to the jury. After the opening statement each party presents their case.

In the Houma car accident trial process, the plaintiff presents their case first. They will present evidence such as:

  • Eye witnesses
  • Expert witnesses
  • Medical records
  • X-rays
  • Radiological studies

The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove. Once the plaintiff rests, the defendant will present their case. The plaintiff will then have an opportunity to rebut whatever the defendant has said.

The next step in the car accident trial process is the closing argument. Each party has the opportunity to present a closing argument. Again, the plaintiff goes first, the defendant goes second, and the plaintiff will be given a chance to rebut.

The Verdict in a Car Accident Trial Process in Houma

Following rebuttal, the judge instructs the jury on the law and, after the jury instructions are complete, the jury retires to a deliberation room to render a just verdict.

If they rule for the plaintiff, the jurors will them itemize the damages. Damages would include medical bills, lost earnings, and property damage. The jurors will then sum up the damages, hand the verdict to the clerk who will read it out loud, and the case will be concluded. If the plaintiff has not proven their case to the satisfaction of the court, the defendant may move for a directed verdict, and the case may be dismissed. This is a rare occurrence, and in most cases, the motion is not made.

How Long Does a Trial Last?

The Houma car accident trial process usually lasts three days for medium to large cases with jury trials. After the jury is selected, there are openings for both sides.

Factors that could influence the length or brevity of a case could be if the defendant does not contest fault. If they admit fault, there will probably not be any liability witness in that situation. The only thing left for trial would be whether the injuries were caused by the admitted fault and what are the damages that a jury would assess based on the facts of the case. The case could be even shorter if the defendant not only admits fault, but also admits that the damages were caused by the fault, leaving only the issue of how much in damages a jury would award.

Contact a Houma Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have been injured in a car accident due to another person’s actions or negligence, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A skilled attorney can be your advocate all the way through the Houma car accident trials process.