Expedited Trials in New Jersey
Over the past few years a new trend called Expedited Trials has emerged in courthouses across the nation. The purpose of an Expedited Trial is to save court time and reduce trial costs. The Court itself does not have authority to order an Expedited Trial. Instead, all parties, both plaintiffs and defendants, must voluntarily agree to enter into an Expedited Trial.
Essentially an Expedited Trial is a mini version of a full trial. Usually the parties come together and agree upon certain parameters including liabilities and damages. The issue they attempt to agree upon is liability. If they cannot “stipulate to liability” and determine the cause of the accident, that issue may go to trial. The parties may also attempt to agree upon damages. In other words, they may “stipulate” the amount of damages and have a jury trial only on the issue of liability. But a new version has emerged which is what we lawyers currently refer to as an “expedited trial.”
There are essentially five abbreviated parts to an Expedited Trial. First, jury selection with only 2 jury challenges (rejection of a potential juror), a brief opening statement limited to 15 minutes, witnesses, jury charge and deliberations. Closing arguments are limited to 30 minutes for each side. The entire process usually takes between 1 to 2 days.
Before an Expedited Trial begins, the Court issues an order that sets forth the procedure for that particular trial. No medical witnesses are called to testify. Instead the lawyers may explain the injuries, permanency, causation based upon the medical facts and opinions as contained in the narrative reports. For that reason a physician’s narrative reports is more important than ever. The doctor’s narrative reports and all other relevant records are submitted to the jury. The attorneys are allowed to either agree upon a medical glossary or submit their own.
Limiting Damages in an Expedited Trial
In advance of an Expedited Trial, the attorneys may limit damages by agreeing on a “high/low.” Despite the verdict, no matter what the jury decides, the amount of money the plaintiff receives will never exceed the “high” or be lower than the “low” number. The one main disadvantage of an Expedited Trial is that there is no right to an appeal.
Expedited Trials are popular with large carriers such as GEICO and Allstate and other insurance companies that heavily insure New Jersey drivers who have opted for the limitation on lawsuit threshold, which limits the ability of insured drivers to bring a lawsuit.
Call the New Jersey Attorneys at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. Today!
The personal injury attorneys of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have represented the seriously injured for over 30 years in both New Jersey and New York. We will help you determine whether settlement, the normal litigation process, or an Expedited Trial is right for you. Call Garry Salomon or Paul Garfield today to learn more about Expedited Trials.