“What Happens Now?”: Virginia Personal Injury Cases

You’ve hired an attorney for your Charlottesville personal injury case. Now what happens? Whether it was a car accident or a dog bite, it is important to stay informed! Keep reading to find out what steps your VA attorney will take during your trial.

1. PreTrial

All motions are heard before Jury selection. Any objections or motions to exclude information from either the Plaintiff or the Defendant are decided before the trial begins

2. Voir Doir

Jury selection begins. In Virginia, civil jury trials only require seven people to sit on a panel, while a criminal trial requires twelve.

3. Opening Statements

Each party presents their version of what they expect the evidence to be for the trial.

4. Witnesses and Evidence

First, the Plaintiff presents witnesses and evidence. Examples of this are the police officer, family, friends, experts (live or by video), and any other witnesses necessary to take the stand and, under oath, give testimony.

The Plaintiff can introduce photographs or other physical evidence through the witnesses.

The Defendant can question the Plaintiff’s witnesses at this time.

Next, the Defendant can introduce witnesses, experts and any physical evidence, such as photographs. The Plaintiff can question the Defendant’s witnesses.

The Plaintiff has the opportunity to have the last word, known as the Plaintiff’s Rebuttal. If there are any important questions that need to be answered or clarified, the Plaintiff can recall a witness that has already testified to respond to the Defendant’s witness or expert.

5. Closing Arguments

Final arguments are made by the Plaintiff first, and then the Defendant.

The Plaintiff has the last word again, in the Plaintiff’s Rebuttal.

6. Jury Instructions

The Judge will read statements of law to the jury. These are called “instructions”. The instructions are usually agreed to by both parties. They provide the jury with the legal information they need to decide the case.

7. Jury Deliberations

The jury is taken to the deliberation room and is able to discuss the evidence and decide on a verdict. When the jury reaches a decision, the Verdict, it is presented to the Court, known as the findings.