Personal Injury Cases
The presentation of evidence is the single most important aspect of trying your personal injury case. Remember, the judge will instruct the jury at the beginning and end of the case that the opening statement and closing arguments of the lawyers are not evidence to be considered in the case. Evidence can only come from the witness stand.
If the judge or jury does not understand the theory of the case or the testimony of the witnesses they will have a hard time ruling in your favor.
This is why it is extremely important to chose an attorney who has experience trying personal injury cases. It is not enough that your attorney have experience in “handling” the cases if he has not successfully tried them also.
In personal injury cases, the plaintiff, or the person bringing the claim has the burden of proving every element of the case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the plaintiff must prove that a fact is more likely true than not. Something is more likely true than not if it is 50.1 % certain, instead of 50% true.
Not only must the plaintiff prove that the defendant was negligent, but also that it is more likely true than not that the proven negligence caused the injuries and damages claimed by the plaintiff.
If the evidence presented by the parties results in the jurors thinking it is a tie, the plaintiff loses.The defendant does not have to prove anything. He can simply sit back and deny the allegations of the plaintiff or point the finger at someone else.
Presenting Your Evidence
At trial, the order of evidence, witnesses and proof is usually presented in chronological fashion so as not to confuse the jury. If the facts or issues of a particular case dictate that an order other than the chronological sequence of events is necessary, that presentation should be simple and easy to understand.
Organizing the case is critical to a smooth and efficient presentation at trial. There is nothing more distracting and noticeable to a jury than an unorganized attorney. The factual and legal issues are challenging even when one is well prepared and organized.
At trial, the most important thing to do with the witnesses is to spend the time to prepare them. The attorney must go over the strengths and weaknesses of the case. The attorney must advise them of the theories and arguments that the defense will throw at them. They must give credible and non adversarial responses on cross examination.
At trial, the proper use of the exhibits is critical. However, the effective use of the exhibits is not a last minute function. It is the culmination of planning that begins with an analysis of the evidence, the organization of the medical records, and finally, the effective use of the record as an exhibit. Blow ups and illustrations go a long way in making difficult concepts easily understandable.
In sum, the presentation of evidence at trial can easily make or break the case. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how to present these cases so that the maximum effect will be achieved on behalf of his client.