Expedited trials are streamlined judicial proceedings for certain personal injury cases. They are heard by a relatively smaller jury are usually completed within one day. They are also called expedited jury trials, or EJTs for short. The goal of expedited trials is to resolve the legal issue in a manner that is efficient and speedy, thus saving time and resources for the parties as well as the court systems. They are not available in all states, but are quite popular in some states such as California.
Requirements and features of expedited trials may vary by state. However, most expedited trials have the following characteristics:
- Both parties must usually agree to such a proceeding
- Appeals and motions are limited
- Each party has a limited time to present arguments and evidence
- The jury has a limited time to reach a verdict
- Parties have the flexibility to enter into agreements regarding issues such as the rules of procedure, presentation of evidence, and damages
Thus, in order for the actual trial to be expedited and streamlined, it means that the parties may have to work out various agreements and terms before trial begins. This also means that the parties will need to engage in negotiations and bargaining, which may require legal assistance to complete.
Expedited trials are not appropriate for all types of cases. They usually work well in personal injury cases where there is no real issue proving liability, such as in a car accident case where the only issue to be disputed is the amount of damages. Also, the parties and their attorneys need to be willing and able to work together in a cooperative manner to reach the proper agreements that will expedite the case. In most cases, it is not necessary to work out exact figures for damages before trial. Rather, the parties only need to set a maximum/minimum range for the damages.
While expedited trials may be shorter than regular trials, they still require a great deal of preparation and knowledge of state procedural laws. It may be in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer if you need assistance with an expedited trial. Your lawyer can help with the preparations before trial and can also assist with negotiations and agreements. Also, your lawyer can be on hand during the trial process to represent you in court.