You are probably familiar with the jury process, having either served on a jury at one time in your life or even because you have seen a jury on television. In a personal injury case, the jury has a very important job to do during the actual trial. The judge will listen to the legal arguments and determine the law that is applicable to the case, however, the jury will listen to and observe all of the evidence that is set forth at trial and will then decide based on the evidence they have seen during trial who is liable under the law explained by the judge. The jury will determine not only who is at fault for an accident and an injury, but what type of award the injured party should be entitled to receive. Fayetteville AR personal injury lawyer Ken Kieklak explains the role of the jury in a personal injury trial.
Multiple Roles of a Jury in a Personal Injury Trial
Determining the Facts: Both sides in a personal injury case are entitled to present their own argument and to create a picture of the accident using witnesses, cross-examination, and by presenting evidence. The jury is charged with the responsibility of determining exactly how the accident occurred by looking at all of the evidence presented and the testimony. The jury will use the facts to determine how the law applies to the case.
Reviewing the Evidence: One of the jury’s main tasks during the trial and during deliberations is to review the evidence that was set forth by both sides in the case. During the trial, they are required to pay close attention to the evidence so that they can weigh each piece of evidence during deliberations. The evidence that both sides put forth is crucial to any personal injury case, however, there are rules of law that dictate what evidence can and cannot be submitted to the jury for deliberation. One of the benefits of working with an experienced personal injury attorney is that they are familiar with the rules of law dictating what can be submitted to the jury.
Applying the Law to the Facts: As noted above, the judge is the one who is responsible for the legal standards that are applied to the particular personal injury case. However, as also noted above the jury is responsible for determining the facts. In a personal injury case, the judge will instruct the jury on the law that applies to this personal injury case. While there are general principles of the law that are common to most cases, the law in a slip and fall case compared to the law in a car accident may be entirely different. The judge will instruct the jury on the law at the end of the trial when both sides have presented all of the evidence that they intend to set forth in the particular case. The jury instructions, which tend to be quite lengthy, should provide jurors with the law that they will need to decide the case.
Reaching a Verdict: Perhaps the central feature of the jury and the one that is most important to understand, is that the jury is tasked with reaching a verdict in a case. After the conclusion of a trial, the jury will often return to a private room, removed from all outside sources including the judge, attorneys, witnesses, and parties to the case so that they can weigh all of the evidence that was presented at the trial and determine who is liable according to the law. Once the jury has deliberated and reached a consensus they will return with a verdict. Because the jury is free to reach a verdict for either side it is impossible to determine from the beginning how the jury will decide.
Awarding Damages: In a civil personal injury case the jury will often be tasked with awarding the damages or the compensation one party will receive in a case. Certain damages can be easy for the jury to determine. For example, in a personal injury case where the injured defendant is seeking to have their medical expenses reimbursed, the jury will be able to determine exactly how much the defendant has spent in medical expenses and can thus suggest an amount cover those expenses. However, other damages in a civil case are not as easy to quantify. Pain and suffering, which can accompany many personal injury cases is not always as clear. The jury will often have to look at many different factors and pieces of evidence that arose during the trial such as pictures of the injury or injuries, whether or not there were serious and permanent injuries, and the act itself.
A personal injury trial can be demanding physically, emotionally, and intellectually, and there is always the risk that the jury will rule for the opposing side. While it is your right to have a case go to trial a vast majority of all personal injury cases settle before going to trial. In many instances, this is the goal of a personal injury attorney. In addition, many insurance companies want to avoid having to go to trial for fear that the jury will return a verdict for an exorbitant amount of money. It is estimated that an astounding ninety-seven to ninety-eight percent of all personal injury cases settle before they go to trial.
Rely on Our Arkansas Personal Injury Trial Experience
At the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak, we have been representing injured victims for over twenty years in all stages of personal injury litigation. We have helped our clients achieve favorable settlement agreements, and through trial. We believe that a negligent person should be held accountable for their actions, and should be responsible for paying for your damages. We provide experience and dedication to helped injured victims recover for their injuries. To speak with an experienced Fayetteville, Arkansas personal injury attorney, call the Law Practice of Ken Kieklak at (479) 316-0438, or contact us online.