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What to Expect if Your Personal Injury Claim Goes to Trial

Last updated 6 years ago

While many television shows condense an entire court case into one hour, most personal injury cases actually take months to resolve. After you hire an accident lawyer, he or she will likely try to settle your case out of court. This often saves both parties a tremendous amount of time, stress, and money. However, if the other party does not agree to the settlement, here is what you should expect when your personal injury claim goes to trial:

Opening Statements

With the exception of jury selection, this is the first time that the trier of fact, either a judge or jury, will hear from the lawyers. Both the plaintiff and defendant have an opportunity to present an opening statement. Most lawyers use this as an opportunity to provide a roadmap of the case they will present.

Plaintiff’s Case in Chief

The plaintiff’s accident lawyer calls each witness one at a time. The defendant’s attorney then has a chance to cross-examine each witness while they are on the stand. If the plaintiff wishes, his lawyer has a chance to conduct a brief rebuttal. Witnesses in personal injury claims may include eyewitnesses and experts, such as doctors.

Defendant’s Case in Chief

The process is the same for the defendant’s case in chief, but he conducts the direct examination of his witnesses while the plaintiff has an opportunity to cross examine.

Plaintiff’s Rebuttal

This time is limited to addressing new facts, issues, and defenses that the defendant’s lawyer raised during his case in chief.

Closing Arguments

This time is usually used to sum up the important arguments made by each side. Neither attorney is allowed to present new evidence that has not already been introduced during the trial.

If you have sustained injuries in a workplace accident, car accident, or any other incident, an accident lawyer can help protect your rights and interests. At The Carlson Law Firm, we help our clients by answering questions honestly and explaining all available legal options. To speak with an accident lawyer in the Austin area about your personal injury claim, contact our firm at (888) 335-7492.


The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use and access to this website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.


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