In civil cases, you have a right to have your personal injury case heard by a judge or a jury. In most situations, victims want to be able to tell their story to a panel of their peers. Juries also provide results that are consistent with the thinking in the area where the accident occurred. In that way, they give a result that is going to be accepted in the community.
Not every case should have a jury, however. Your Cooper City personal injury attorney will be able to examine your situation and determine whether asking for a jury is a good idea for you.
What Does a Jury Do?
If you have ever served on a jury, you know their basic functions. However, the vast majority of people called for jury duty will never have to perform that service. As a result, many people do not appreciate what the jury does in a personal injury case, such as a car accident or a slip and fall situation. Generally speaking, the jury will perform the following functions.
- Determine the Facts
Juries are the fact-finders in the case. This role is absolutely vital. The jury will listen to all of the evidence presented and decide who or what they want to believe. This process involves determining which witnesses are more credible or believable. It also includes an examination of physical evidence as well. Some evidence will not be as strong as others, and it is up to the jury to decide which evidence will influence their decision.
- Apply the Law to the Facts
The judge will provide comprehensive instructions to the jury on their role and what the law in that particular case is. The jury then decides, based on their review of the facts, whether specific legal qualifications are met. For example, in a car accident case, the judge may tell the jury that to prove negligence, the plaintiff must have shown that the defendant was driving on the wrong side of the road. As a jury person, you determine whether the defendant was driving on the wrong side of the road, and if so, then you would make a finding that they were negligent.
- Reach a Verdict and Award Damages
Once the jury has applied the law to the facts, they will come up with a verdict. In criminal trials, the verdict is generally just guilty or not guilty, but in civil suits, verdicts are often more complicated. A jury will determine whether one party was at fault, and, if so, how much the victim’s damages should be. This two-part examination requires first determining whether the injured party has proven their case and then setting out a specific dollar amount for an award of damages.
The Importance of the Jury
Being on a jury panel can be both emotionally and physically draining. It requires a lot of focus. Nonetheless, juries provide a way for victims to obtain a result that is based on the views of the community as a whole, not just an insurance company, judge, or a couple of lawyers.
If you have been involved in an accident, you need to talk to a Cooper City personal injury attorney. Don’t wait to get an experienced lawyer involved in your case—call The Law Office of Bradley Hartman at 954-438-1000 for a free consultation.