Almost all states allow plaintiff’s counsel to make an opening statement first. An opening statement is intended to describe for the jury what the evidence will show. It is intended as a statement, not an argument. After the plaintiff opens, the defense has their turn.
Many personal injury lawyers consider the opening statement the most important part of the trial. This is because the opening statement is the primary narrative that presents in full detail what the plaintiff lawyer intends on proving at trial and sets the tone and theme for the case as it moves forward. Ideally, the opening statement should have a compelling introduction, and orderly and consise statement of the facts the plaintiff intends on proving, and the conclusions the jury will be expected to reach at the end of the trial.
The plaintiff carries the burden of proving her case by “preponderance of the evidence” which means by tipping the scales in her clients favor by at least 51% in order to win her case on both issues of liability, causation and damages. This is known as the plaintiffs burden of proof.
For more information on the law of personal injury refer to the related topics below: