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I’m on the Jury. Now what?

If a lawsuit cannot be settled at any point prior to the trial date, it is going to have to go to trial.  Attorneys have two options in regards to their lawsuit: they can pay a jury fee and timely request a jury trial, or they can choose to go before the judge and have them decide the outcome of their case.

This begs the question from a lot of people: I am on a jury.  What exactly is my job?

The Judge

In the most simple terms, the judge is there to make rulings on the law.  Examples of things that a judge may have to make a ruling on would be when the lawyers object to certain documents or object to testimony.  A lot of the time, the judge may ask the jury to leave the courtroom when they make a ruling on the evidence.  They do this so that the jury does not know what the evidence is prior to making a ruling.  You can tell someone to disregard evidence, but generally, once the cat is out of the bag, it is hard to get it out of a juror’s head.  It may help to think of the judge as the gatekeeper to what facts the jury gets to hear.

The Jury

You, as a member of the jury, are there to make a ruling on the facts presented during the trial.  At the end of the trial, once all sides have presented their evidence, you will be given a jury charge.  In this jury charge, you will most likely be asked to determine who, if anyone, was at fault for the accident, and if you find one or more of the defendants to be at fault, how much and what kind of damages did this cause the plaintiff?

As you can see, you have a very important job as a juror.  Your job is to weigh all of the evidence that has been presented to you.  This evidence can be testimony given in trial or documents admitted as exhibits, such as photographs, videos, graphs, or medical records.  Typically, this evidence will be provided to you in the jury room so that you can review it to refresh your memory.  Some trials can take weeks, so nobody expects you to have memorized what was on page seven of the plaintiff’s medical records from eight days ago.

Being a juror is a very important task and one that should be taken very seriously.  It is the backbone of the court system in our country.  For many people who suffer injuries in accidents, having their case heard by a jury of their peers is the only chance they will get for justice.  If you feel as though you were wrongfully injured in an accident and want your voice to be heard, feel free to contact the lawyers at Herrman & Herrman PLLC for a free case consultation.