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Jury Selection in Florida Injury Cases

jury dutyIn some cases, personal injury matters cannot be settled in pre-suit negotiations. When this happens, the injured victim should file a lawsuit against the responsible party to seek damages for his or her injuries. During a civil lawsuit, there are many steps that have to be taken before the case actually reaches trial. One of these steps is jury selection. This is a very important part of the process. Robert Dixon is a highly qualified personal injury attorney who understands the lawsuit process, including jury selection as well as the role and responsibilities of a jury.

The American justice system is rooted in the idea that every individual is entitled to a fair trial. Thus, a jury must be comprised of a neutral and unbiased representative sample of the local population. Once the court summons a number of jurors, the group is narrowed down through a process known as “voir dire.” Voir dire is used to ascertain if a particular juror is biased or if there is a reason that the juror should not be allowed to serve on the jury. The following reasons would be considered cause for a juror not to serve:  knowledge of the facts, relationship or acquaintanceship with one of the parties, or being involved in a prior lawsuit under similar circumstances.

The jury selection process can affect the result of a case. In Pembroke Lakes Mall v. McGruder, for example, two defendants were sued in a slip and fall case. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, who had slipped and fallen on a wet floor while visiting Pembroke Lakes Mall. The defendants subsequently filed a post-verdict motion to avoid a judgment. They alleged that they were improperly denied the opportunity to question four jurors who failed to communicate their involvement in prior litigation.

Eventually, the appeals court held that the trial court had erred when it denied the defendant’s motion to interview the jurors. The Court used the standard from Florida’s Supreme Court decision in De La Rosa v. Zequira, which mandates that a moving party demonstrate that the concealed information is relevant and material to jury service, that the juror concealed the information during questioning, and that the failure to disclose the information could not be attributed to the complaining party’s lack of diligence.

Here, the information that the jurors were involved in prior litigation was both relevant and material to the slip and fall case because at least one of the jurors was involved in a personal injury claim and may have been involved in litigation that was relevant to the case at hand. Additionally, three of the four jurors at issue had been involved in litigation in the past four years.

At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, our competent South Florida premises liability attorneys provide representation to individuals and families dealing with personal injury cases. We understand that going through a lawsuit is a stressful and cumbersome process. Our goal is to get our clients the justice and fair compensation that they deserve. For more information, contact us online or call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) for a free case evaluation.

More Blog Posts:

The Concept of “Proximate Cause” in Florida Personal Injury Claims, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 31, 2014

The Role of “Med Pay” in Florida Slip and Fall Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 21, 2014

Dealing with Tire Blowout Accidents in Florida, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blawg, October 21, 2014