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The Role of Jury Selection in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Most personal injury lawsuits end with an out-of-court settlement. Settlements are often preferred by both sides, because they’re cheaper and faster than a full trial, among other things. When a case does go to trial it’s often because the stakes are high and the parties in the dispute are far apart on important legal or factual questions that frustrate their efforts to negotiate a settlement deal. In cases that go in front of a jury, the choice of jurors can have a significant impact on the outcome of a case.

The role of the jury in personal injury cases

The legal profession refers to judges and juries as the triers of fact. Their job is to evaluate the evidence each side in the case presents to reach decisions about the merits of arguments and the questions raised during the course of the trial. Well-established legal rules govern the job of the trier of fact, whether judge or jury. Many of the rules of trials, including evidentiary standards, are designed to protect and enhance the fairness and reliability of the fact-finding process. In a jury trial the judge can be thought of as part referee, part gatekeeper, and part assistant to the jury. The jury does the real work of determining whether the plaintiff has done enough to establish that the defendant is legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, and how much the defendant should be required to pay to make the plaintiff whole. Given their importance, choosing jurors is often a delicate and involved process that attorneys for both sides in the case will take very seriously.

What is jury selection?

In a civil trial the jury selection process can be fraught with challenges. As anyone who has been summoned to jury duty can attest, no one wants to be on the hook for sitting through a long and complicated trial. Potential jurors look for any excuse they can to get out of service. For courts and litigants alike, this presents a tough preliminary challenge: finding enough people to serve. It’s not enough to fill the jury with “live bodies.” The people on the jury also need to be appropriate for the case. Many individuals need to be disqualified for reasons beyond practical problems that would prevent them from serving. Relevant personal biases, potentially distorting backgrounds, or concerns about competence can all play a role in disqualifying jurors in a case. For litigants the jury selection process can be about finding jurors who may be predisposed to look favorably on their case. Finding the “right” juror is a highly sophisticated process that takes into account a wide variety of factors, from a person’s demographics to their responses to specific questions. In every case a judge will oversee the selection process to prevent abuses and distortions that aggressive attorneys might try to introduce at the selection stage.

GGRM is an experienced Nevada personal injury law firm

When it comes to selecting jurors, experience makes all the difference. The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented injured clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. For a free attorney consultation about your case call us today at 702-388-4476 or send us a request on our contact page.