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A Personal Injury Lawsuit—Part Three

Jury Selection and Jury Instructions

A Personal Injury Lawsuit Part ThreeThe complaint is filed and answered, and discovery is complete. You’ve argued all dispositive motions and evidentiary disputes. There are still a couple very important steps before opening arguments can be made.

Jury Selection

Opening statements are made to the jury, so a jury must be seated before you can commence a trial. The jury selection process, also known as “voir dire,” can differ in minor respects from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically follows a common pattern:

  • Potential jurors are selected from voter rolls or drivers license lists
  • A certain number of potential jurors are notified that they may be called for jury duty during a specific period. Often, the jurors must either call in or receive to call to learn if they need to show up at the court.
  • Jurors are typically gathered in a separate room and are called into the court in small groups
  • Once in the courtroom, the prospective jurors are individually called to the witness stand, where they may be questioned by the judge, and by attorneys for all parties. The questions are designed to determine whether the jurors can render an impartial decision based on the facts of the case.
  • The judge may excuse a potential juror at his or her discretion. Attorneys for each side have two ways to challenge a potential juror—peremptory challenges and challenges for cause. A peremptory challenge allows an attorney to excuse a juror for any reason, but each side has a limited number of peremptory challenges. A challenge for cause must be based on the belief (gathered from the potential juror’s statements) that the juror cannot be impartial. There are no limits on the number of challenges for cause, but the decision is ultimately made by the judge.

Jury Instructions

In the American civil justice system, the judge makes determinations of law and the jury makes determinations of fact. However, juries must apply the law to the facts when rendering a verdict. Because the jury cannot be expected to know the law, they are given instructions, which essentially tell them what legal conclusions they must make based on their determination of facts. Typically, the judge will ask attorneys for both sides to prepare prospective jury instructions and will rule on what directives are ultimately given to the jury. Some judges prefer to wait to rule on jury instructions until it’s clear that the case will go to the jury. Others complete this as part of the pre-trial process.

Contact Us Now

Don’t run the risk that evidence will be lost— contact us online or call our office today at 856-667-4666 to schedule an appointment. Your first consultation is free. We are available evenings and weekends upon request. We’ll also travel to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

We handle all product liability claims on a contingent fee basis. We won’t charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for your losses.

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