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Jury Trials

 What Juries Aren’t Told

In a personal injury trial, jurors are not always told the truth.

They are not told that the defendant is really (in most cases) an insurance company that insures the car the defendant was driving.

They are not told that the defendant who was driving the car does not pay a dime towards the compensation the jury awards.

They are not told that the insurance company that insures the car pays the damages awarded.

They are not told that the insurance company picks the doctors it decides to send the injured party to.

They are not told that if the damages awarded for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life are less than $127,000, then the award which they intended the plaintiff to receive will be reduced by $38,000.

The law does not permit the lawyers or the judge to tell the jurors these basic truths.

 Why is there a Jury on my trial?

There is a jury on your trial because either or both of the lawyers involved in the case have requested a jury by filing a Jury Notice.

 How does my lawyer pick the Jury?

In a personal injury trial, members of the community are chosen randomly to attend Court to become part of the jury pool. Their names are then put into a cylinder like a bingo ball cage and names are randomly drawn. The lawyers are given names of all potential jurors and their occupations in advance. They know nothing else about the jurors. They are not allowed to ask prospective jurors about their beliefs or biases. They are not allowed to question them at all. The first 6 jurors are randomly selected by the Court Registrar. The lawyers for the plaintiffs and the lawyers for the defendant are then allowed to “challenge” any juror. A “challenge” means that the lawyer, for his or her own reasons, does not wish that particular juror to sit on their jury and asks that they be excused. Each party has 4 challenges. In very rare cases, a juror may be excused for “cause” meaning that the juror cannot in good conscience decide the case in an impartial manner.

 How many people sit on a civil Jury?

There are 6 jurors in a civil trial. It takes a minimum of 5 jurors to make a decision on each issue. However, it does not have to be the same 5 jurors who agree on each issue.

 Do Jury trials take longer?

Jury trials take significantly longer than trials involving a judge alone. During the course of a trial, various procedural and evidentiary issues usually arise. When the lawyers make submissions to the judge on the issues, the jurors are excused (they leave the courtroom) so that they do not hear the submissions of counsel. Unfortunately, these issues happen frequently in jury trials. This does not happen in cases involving judge alone. There are other procedural safeguards in jury trials that tend to prolong them.

 Is the amount a Jury awards the dollar figure that’s really received?

No. In cases involving automobiles, there are deductibles that apply. If the jury awards compensation to an injured party (called the plaintiff) of $127,000 or less, there is a deductible of about $38,000.