When the time comes to attend a civil trial, it’s essential to stay calm and focused. Most people tend to feel nervous as they don’t know what to expect. At LJW Legal, our attorneys take the proper time with each of our clients so that they can feel confident. Not only will we go through every step of the civil trial, but we also answer any questions you may have about the process and the different things to keep in mind to have a successful trial.
What’s a Civil Trial?
In a civil trial, a judge or a jury examines the evidence to decide whether the defendant has to be held legally responsible for the damages alleged by the plaintiff. This is the plaintiff’s opportunity to argue their case, in the hope of obtaining a ruling against the defendant. However, this is also the defendant’s chance to refute the case and present their evidence to prove their innocence.
Where Will It Take Place?
As its name suggests, a civil trial will most likely take place in a civil courtroom, in front of a judge or a jury. Keep in mind, lawsuits filed in civil courts, as well as the documents filed in these cases, are open to the public.
What to Expect?
It’s common to feel nervous and anxious before and during your civil trial. Rest assured, your attorney will be by your side throughout the entire process to legally support you every step of the way. Once the judge or the jury has been chosen, the trial will move on to hear the opening statements from each party. At this point, your attorney will present the facts you have against the defendant, and the other party will present their version of the facts.
Then, both parties will go into what’s known as the witness testimony and cross-examination phase. This is similar to what happens at a deposition, but in a court trial stage, in front of a judge or jury. This step is then followed by the closing arguments, which gives each party a chance to sum up their case, recap the evidence, and give the jury everything they need before deliberations.
Once both parties have explained their case, the jury will rule out a verdict. Then, it’s the judge’s role to determine the legal standards that will apply to the defendant’s case based on the claims and evidence presented from both parties. All of these things will happen the day of the trial.
Things to Keep in Mind during a Civil Trial
As you prepare for your civil trial, there are a few things you must keep in mind to make sure you do your best and stay as calm as possible throughout the entire process.
Get a brief on substantive issues of the case: Your attorney will probably go through this process as they prepare you for a deposition. Here, you want to focus on all the real facts related to your case in chronological order.
Get familiar with procedural matters: Your lawyer will explain what to expect from your civil trial, and how you should react to specific questions or events that will take place at the courthouse.
Be honest: In the event you get asked to testify, remember you must be honest. Listen carefully to the questions, and respond only to the question being asked; there’s no need to shed further details when unnecessary.
Dress appropriately: Choose proper courtroom attire, think business wear. Remember, your appearance is also being judged, and having a professional look will have a positive impact on the judge and jury.
Other things to keep in mind include making sure you get there on time, standing when the judge enters the room, never interrupting the judge, be polite when answering questions, and never leave the courtroom without knowing precisely what the judge ruled. For more insights on how to prepare for a civil trial, please read our guide on preparing for trial depositions.
Preparing for your civil trial is extremely important. The way you conduct yourself in court can make or break your case. At LJW Legal, our attorneys will work with you from the very beginning to make sure once trial day arrives, you feel comfortable, confident, and ready to put this issue behind you.