Once a personal injury case has moved to trial and the jury has been selected, it is time for opening statements. In an opening statement, each side will typically walk the jury through their explanation of the case and explain what evidence they will present. An attorney from Kogan & DiSalvo will strategize and develop an opening statement to suit the specific circumstances of your case. Read below to learn more about the process of opening statements in the case involving the client injured by a faulty staircase.
Role of Visual Aids
Juries often understand an argument better when they see it rather than hear one. In this particular case, the theory was that treads and risers on the staircase were not uniform and were of differing dimensions. Lawyers from Kogan & DiSalvo had numerous photographs of the staircase. The attorneys picked the best one and showed it to the jury in the opening statement. The jury could see that this was a patchwork of different size treads and risers. It was plainly obvious to anyone looking at the staircase that there was something wrong, that it was not uniform, and that it did not comply with the building code. The photos also had a ruler on the risers so the jury could see the risers were of varying dimensions.
The plaintiff’s team also showed the jury in the opening statement a blow-up photograph of an x-ray showing the titanium plate and screws that had been inserted in the client’s ankle during surgery.
Explaining the Impact of the Injury
During opening statement, lawyers from the plaintiff’s team briefly explained how the client was impacted by the incident that occurred. Attorneys typically give the jury a taste of what is to come, including who the witnesses are going to be and what they are going to say. Usually, an attorney will not go into too much detail, because that is what the witnesses are there for and a lawyer does not want to steal their thunder or have the jury not pay attention to the witness. During the lawyer’s opening statement, he gave a little preview of what the witness may say, but just enough so they understand why that witness is being called to testify but not so much that the testimony is redundant with the opening statement.
Defense Opening Statement
In their opening statement, the defendant and their attorney did not present any visual aid, but they explained their medical expert’s opinion that the ankle had healed well and that the client would not have any problems in the future as a result of the fractured ankle.
After the opening statements, the plaintiff’s team called a number of witnesses to the stand to begin the plaintiff’s case presentation. A common legal theory is to always start with a strong witness and end with a strong witness. In this case, the attorneys from Kogan & DiSalvo started with the liability witnesses to establish the negligence of the defendant. The last witness was the client, who was a nice, sympathetic voice. In between, the plaintiff’s team called pain and suffering witnesses, people who were able to talk about the problems that the plaintiff suffered as a result of the injury sustained in the fall.