Juries remain an important part of our justice system. The Seventh Amendment to United States Constitution provides the right to jury trials in suits at common law. This includes personal injury cases. Injured plaintiffs may file lawsuits when they have been harmed due to the negligence of another person or entity. To receive compensation, the injured party must prove that the defendant is liable for the injuries sustained. A jury is responsible for determining the liability of the defendant and the amount of compensation to be awarded to the plaintiff.
The process begins with jury selection, where individuals are chosen to serve on the jury. Lawyers ask potential jurors questions to make sure they can be fair and impartial. Once the jury is seated, the trial begins.
Both the plaintiff and the defendant present evidence and call witnesses to support their respective cases. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions or inaction caused their injuries and that the defendant had a duty of care to prevent harm. However, the defendant, on the other hand, will try to prove that they are not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Next, the jury deliberates to consider the evidence. They discuss the evidence and come to a decision on the verdict. The verdict can be either guilty or not guilty. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, they will then determine the amount of compensation to be awarded to the plaintiff. This amount is meant to cover the plaintiff’s damages such as:
- medical expenses
- lost wages
- lost earning capacity
- physical pain and suffering
Once the jury reaches a verdict, the foreperson announces it in court. The Judge then hears arguments from each party. If there is no legal reason for modifying or reversing the verdict, then the Judge adopts the verdict as the Judgment of the Court. The verdict becomes final and binding. However, this final judgment may be appealed if there is new evidence or if the jury’s decision was based on incorrect information.
Experienced lawyers know how to present evidence and argue for favorable verdicts on behalf of their clients. Plaintiff lawyers must be skilled in telling the story of how their client was injured and why the defendant is responsible to compensate them. Therefore, the injury lawyer must know not only what evidence to present, but also how to present it in a persuasive manner.