What to Expect in Court for Slip and Falls
One of the reasons many people are hesitant to file a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident is a fear of going to court. Most slip and fall cases are settled out of court. If your case does proceed to trial, an experienced attorney will work with you to prepare you to provide testimony. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf and explain what to expect so the process should be less intimidating.
Listed below are some the things that an experienced attorney may discuss with you and tell you to expect in court during a slip and fall case.
When Will a Slip and Fall Case Go to Court?
Going to court is usually a last resort in the majority of slip and fall cases. This is because everyone involved in the slip and fall case – both the plaintiff and the defense – typically wants to settle the issues as quickly as possible and avoid the uncertainty of litigation. A slip and fall case will only go to court in the event that parties cannot agree on an out-of-court settlement. While proceeding to trial is not common, it is sometimes the best option, and slip and fall victims should be prepared. You can read more about what it means to settle a case on the website of the American Bar Association.
What Can I Expect in Court for Slip and Falls?
If your case does go to trial, it is important that you understand the different phases of the court process.
- The first step of litigation is the discovery phase, or the phase where each party obtains all information and documents relevant to the case from the other side. Each party will request documents and gather testimony through deposition. You have a legal obligation to cooperate during the discovery process.
- As part of the discovery process to gather evidence, you and other witnesses will be required to answer questions under oath. Your attorney and the attorney for the other side will be present during the deposition. You also have the right to depose other witnesses to gather evidence. A deposition typically takes place at a law office conference room.
- Following discovery, both sides will be allowed to file any motions with the court. The court may order mandatory mediation to try to resolve the differences. Mediation is a process similar to settlement talks. If mediation is not successful – and both sides cannot agree on how a slip and fall claim should be settled – then the case will go to trial.
What to Expect During a Trial
During a trial, you will present evidence to the court, as well the defense, and then the court will make a determination about your case based on the preponderance of the evidence. There are typically six stages of a trial. Each stage is very important, and includes choosing the jury (unless the case is only to be heard before a judge), giving opening statements to the court, presenting evidence (through witness testimony and cross-examination), giving closing arguments, jury instructions, and jury deliberation and delivery of a verdict.
If you have hired an attorney, then your attorney will be the one who is responsible for giving opening and closing statements, participating in jury selection, and presenting your case.
What Should I Bring for My Slip and Fall Court Case?
Your attorney will instruct you on what to bring to court, and what you should expect during the process. Typically, all evidence will have already been presented to the court. It is important that you are completely honest with the attorney in charge of your case and that you give them any evidence that you may have well before a case goes to court.
The biggest thing that you will be responsible for during a slip and fall court trial is testifying before the court. This can be an extremely intimidating to do, and the defense will be looking for any inconsistencies in your statement to use to weaken your argument. For this reason, it is very important that you and your attorney work together before the trial to practice examination and cross-examination. Your attorney should prepare you so that you come to court knowing what you are going to say and what questions to expect.
Another thing that you are responsible for in court is how to present yourself. You should wear courtroom appropriate clothing, and always address the judge and the other attorneys with respect. Unruly behavior is not tolerated in a courtroom, and a lack of professionalism on your part may hurt your chances of success.
Will My Slip and Fall Court Case Be Successful?
It is hard to know whether a slip and fall court case will be successful without knowing all of the facts of the case. And even then, the determination that a court will make can be hard to predict. The unpredictability of juries is a main reason why settling a case out of court, if possible, is preferred.
If you have a slip and fall case, you will improve your chances of a successful outcome by working with an experienced Brooksville, Florida slip and fall attorney. You need an attorney with trial experience, who knows what to expect in the courtroom, and has record of success in litigation.
Contact Our Brooksville Slip and Fall Attorneys for a Free Case Consultation Now
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident that was not your fault, you may have a right to seek compensation. To learn more about the process of filing a claim and the differences between out of court settlements and going to trial, contact our Brooksville slip and fall accident lawyers today for a free case consultation. Be prepared to tell us as many details as possible about your slip and fall accident.
You can schedule your free case consultation by calling the offices of Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC now, or by filling out our contact form online. Do not wait to take action – we are ready to represent you!
Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.