In 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. Continue reading →