4 Things You Should Know About Accident Trial By Jury

Posted on: 18 April 2023

Your accident case may go before a judge or jury if you don't settle outside the courtroom. Many people understand bench trials better than they do jury trials. Below are four things you should know about jury trials.

1. Jury Trial Has Its Pros and Cons

The advantages and disadvantages of jury trial depend on the case specifics. For example, a bench trial may be best if you have a complicated case and want to use an obscure legal theory that an average person might not understand.

On the other hand, consider a jury trial if you have a relatively straightforward auto accident case. Many believe juries are more sympathetic toward injury victims than judges are. Thus, a jury trial makes sense if you are a credible plaintiff and suffered visible auto accident injuries.

2. The Choice Might Not Be Yours

You do not always get to choose whether to have a bench or jury trial. Multiple factors, including the nature of the case, damages, and court, determine your choice of trial. In many cases:

  • The federal court system and many state courts grant you the right to a jury trial.
  • Either party has the right to request a jury trial.
  • Either party can waive their right to a jury trial.

Your lawyer will guide you on what to expect at each lawsuit stage.

3. Multiple Parties Participate in Jury Selection

Each jurisdiction has a pool of pre-selected people from which it selects the jurors. The judge, defendant, and plaintiff all participate in jury selection. The selection process excludes those who cannot remain neutral during the trial. Such people may have insider information on the case, relationships with the participants, or have natural case bias.

4. Jury Trial Attracts Additional Costs

A jury trial requires additional costs that a bench trial doesn't have. The jurors require stipends to cover the financial hardships they experience for their court appearances. Remember, the jurors will miss work, school, and their families during their appearance. The stipend also caters to the jurors' transport to court and meals.

In general, the person who requests a jury trial pays the jury expenses, but exceptions exist. You do not have to pay the costs if you waive your right to trial by jury. Federal or state laws determine the relevant costs depending on the court handling your case. Lastly, you may get reimbursement for the jury expenses if you win your case.

The intricacies of jury trial mean you should get a lawyer with trial experience to handle your case from the start. That way, you don't have to change lawyers if your case doesn't settle and you decide to file a lawsuit. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer near you.