As Published By
ALAN S. RIPKA, ESQUIRE
Trying Your Case
After years of legal jousting, it is finally time for your case to go to trial. Of course, you had hoped it would settle for enough money to make the entire experience worthwhile and compensate you for your pain, suffering, lost wages and medical bills. Unfortunately, the defense lawyer or insurance company does not see it your way and are now challenging you to a duel, courtroom style. Who has the better case, the more experienced trial lawyer, and the favor of the liberal or conservative judge or jury? Select a jury, choose your weapon (to coin a phrase), and fire with the most powerful strategic ammunition available. Who will strike and who will miss? It is time for the trial of your action.
Expect the experience to be very difficult. You will be sitting around the courthouse for days, if not weeks, much of the time uninvolved in the actual trial. You will likely attempt to read the jurors’ minds and assess them by their demeanor and dress. You may go as far as mouthing the words hello or smiling at jurors as they pass by you on breaks, despite the judge’s admonishment against any communication. You will find yourself becoming an amateur lawyer attempting to understand why the judge is ruling the way he is, and trying to understand the strategy of the witnesses. After all, what else can you do other than be nervous and angry, since the defense will not pay you your due.
Witness after witness will take the stand. Some will help your case; others will hurt it. Both sides will introduce pictures, medical records, and even big blowups of your body parts to the jury, some quite embarrassing. You will be cross-examined by the defense lawyer, and you will try to be smarter than him or her, only to be caught in inconsistencies and exaggerations. That’s right – you will not be the star that convinces the jurors that you deserve compensation. It doesn’t work like that. The jurors will evaluate all of the evidence to attempt to reach a fair verdict, not just a verdict for your side.
Of course, a strong trial lawyer will do all that he can to persuade the jurors, and you will naturally feel the weight of good lawyer’s intellect and powers of persuasion. You will need to believe in your lawyer and what he or she is doing, like watching a well-produced and well-directed play, says Alan Ripka, Esq.
The trial can take days or even weeks. There may be many witnesses or few. There may be an abundance of evidence or hardly any at all. The jurors, six in a civil case or twelve in a criminal case, and all strangers, will decide your fate. The most nerve racking part of the trial process is leaving all the work in the hands of the decision makers that you just laid eyes on. And besides appealing a verdict against you, there is nothing you do or say after the verdict to convince anybody to decide differently once it is done.
Many lawyers believe a fair settlement, one that neither side is happy with, is always better than a trial with an unknown outcome. However, if the defendant wants to play hardball with you, your author believes that you need to hit the ball and show them you are not afraid. Many cases settle before, during, and after trial. In order to be in the right position to begin with, you must have a lawyer that has tried many cases, is willing to move forward without a blink, and stand firm by your side. Your author, Alan Ripka, Esq. will be there. Always!