Jury selection may come up frequently when discussing criminal trials, but juries also play a critical role in the civil justice system. This means that if your personal injury claim goes to trial, the fate of your claim may very well rest with a jury of your peers. While most personal injury cases end up settling without any need for a lawsuit to be filed let alone litigated in open court, it is still important to be prepared for this possibility. Part of preparation is learning about the process and jury selection can be a critical part of that process.
The Importance of Jury Selection in Your Personal Injury Case
Each day, except for weekends and court holidays, groups of people go to the relevant courthouse in order to answer the call for jury duty. These people then wait to be called to specific courtrooms where voir dire begins. Void dire is the jury selection process and literally means “to speak the truth,” this is because potential jurors included in the jury pool are required to answer all questions posed to them in a truthful manner.
From the jury pool gathered in the courtroom, usually, the jury pool is seated in the viewing gallery of the courtroom and not the actual jury box, the presiding judge will give a brief introduction and overview of what can be expected from the voir dire process. The judge will also pose a few standard questions of the jurors relevant to whether they are free to serve on a jury without prejudice if selected for the jury. Depending on the answers given to these questions, a judge may decide to dismiss certain jurors that are unavailable to serve or appear to be unable to serve in a fair and impartial manner.
After the judge’s line of questioning, the plaintiff and defense team are granted the opportunity to question the jury pool. This line of questioning is geared at rooting out those jurors with potential prejudices against a certain side or to find out if a particular juror may be more sympathetic to one side versus the other. Posing the right questions and paying close attention to the answers and the delivery of the answers can be crucial in seeking out the most favorable jurors and dismissing other jurors who may be more inclined to side with opposing counsel.
The importance of the jury in a personal injury case that goes to trial cannot really be understated. A personal injury case presented to a jury means that the fate of the case rests with that jury. The jury will consider the weight of the evidence and determine whether a claim should be deemed valid. If deemed valid, they will also decide on the amount of damages you are awarded. While guidance and jury instructions will be provided, the jury holds the key to the case.
Personal Injury Attorneys
Our team of personal injury attorneys at Compass Law Group has the knowledge and experience to see your claim successfully through to the end. Whether that means negotiating a favorable settlement or going all the way to trial, we are prepared to fight for you. Contact us today.