Just thinking about attending a Trial can be daunting. Before you turn up at court its always better to know what you will be facing and what to expect whilst you are there.
First and formally, it is important to note that although a trial is the concluding phase of the personal injury claim process, at personalinjuriessolicitorsdublin the majority of cases are resolved well before trial, and in many instances before Court proceedings are issued at all.
When at trial, a Judge will examine the evidence to decide whether the Defendant should be held legally responsible for the injuries and harm alleged by the Claimant.
Typically, the trial will consist of six main phases:
Opening statements are presented by both parties’ Barristers. They will summarise to the Judge, the claim being brought and the basis on which it is defended.
2. Evidence in Chief
As a standard process in the Court The Claimant is sworn in first, either by the holy book of their choice, or; for the non-religious, by an affirmation of their intention to tell the truth.
The Claimant will always give their evidence first, as the burden of proof is on the Claimant to prove their claim. The Claimant’s Barrister will start by getting the Claimant to confirm the contents of their Witness Statement, usually by confirming that they have read it recently and that the signature on the final page is their own.
The Barrister can or may then ask the Claimant some questions regarding the accident circumstances and the resulting injuries.
3. Cross Examination
It is then the turn of the Defendant Barrister to pick apart the Claimant’s evidence, and to find some inconsistencies within the same. Unlike with evidence in chief, Barristers are able to pose leading questions in cross examination. Examples of this type of question would be, “you crashed the car because you were driving recklessly, didn’t you?” or; “you did receive adequate training on the correct use of the work machinery, didn’t you?”
Claimants often find this part of the trial the most unnerving, however it is important to remember that it is the Defendant Barristers job to disarm the Claimant and defend the claim.
At this stage the Claimant’s barrister will put further questions to the Claimant, off the back of the cross examination.
Steps 2, 3 and 4 and then repeated for the Defendant and any witnesses to the evidence.
5. Closing Arguments
Once all the evidence has been heard by the court, both parties Barristers will make closing statements summing up their arguments. The purpose of this stage of the trial is so that all the parties can highlight the key issues for the Judge to consider when forming his/her judgment on the case.
Before making a decision, a Judge may take a break to re-consider the evidence in his/her chamber. Once they have formed their judgment, they may return to the Court to read the same. Judges are not required to provide judgment the same day that the evidence is heard, and may also give their findings in writing or at a further hearing where they consider it is more appropriate.
A Fast Track Trial can last for 1 day. There is normally waiting time in the morning and a break for lunch in most instances.
Personalinjuriessolicitorsdublin, we will arrange for you to be represented at the Trial by a Barrister. We also aim to attend ourselves to make sure the day proceeds as smoothly as possible.
If you do have a case that is heading towards a Trial then contact your Case Handler who will be happy to discuss it further with you.