In civil trials, juries and judges examine evidence to determine whether a defendant should be held liable for a plaintiff’s damages. The trial gives a civil litigation lawyer in Louisiana the opportunity to argue their case in hopes of getting a favorable judgement. It also gives the defendant a chance to refute the plaintiff’s claims, and to offer supporting evidence. A civil trial consists of six phases, which will be described below.
- Jury selection
- Opening statements
- Testimony and cross-exam
- Closing argument
- Jury instructions
- Deliberation and verdict
Except in bench trials, the first step in a civil case is to select a jury. During this phase, the judge, plaintiff, defendant and their respective legal teams will question potential jurors. Judges can excuse jurors based on responses to these questions. At this time, both sides can exclude jurors through peremptory and for-cause challenges.
Once the jury is chosen, both sides present opening statements. No witness testimony occurs, and no physical evidence is offered. The plaintiff usually gives a statement first, and their statement is usually more detailed than the defendant’s. During opening statements, the plaintiff presents the facts of their case and the defendant’s role in the damages suffered. When a suit involves more than one party, each side’s attorneys may offer an opening argument.
Testimony and Cross-Exam
During this phase, a Civil Litigation in Fredericton will present evidence and arguments to the judge and jury. The plaintiff tries to prove that the defendant is responsible for their damages, and the defendant tries to refute the plaintiff’s claims. Evidence such as photographs, expert testimony and medical reports can be used. Once both sides have presented their cases, they rest and prepare for closing arguments.
After both sides have presented evidence and made closing arguments, the next step is jury instruction. The judge gives jurors the legal standards necessary to decide whether a defendant should be held liable. After this, the case goes to the jury for deliberation. The jurors discuss the case, and deliberations can last for hours or even weeks. Once a verdict is reached, it is announced in open court.