When Should I File a Lawsuit?
Sometimes, personal injury cases cannot be settled in pre-suit negotiations. This is when the injured victim should consider filing a lawsuit. This is an important decision and needs to be discussed with an attorney. An accident trial attorney will inform you of the lawsuit process, including the role of a jury in determining your case.
Juries in the American Court SystemThe American justice system is based on the idea that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. To that end, the jury must be impartial and a representative sample of the local population. A common method for selecting juries is to reference a list of the state's licenses drivers, registered voters, or other governmental reference list.
The Jury Selection ProcessDuring a civil lawsuit, there are many phases that the case must go through before making it to trial. One of those phases is jury selection. Once the court summons a group of potential jurors, the group has to be narrowed down to jurors eligible to serve during the specific case. This process is called "voir dire."
The judge addresses the jurors and tells them a bit about the case. He or she will also discuss the jury instructions, which are a standard set of rules that they must follow. You can view Florida's standard jury instructions online at the Florida Supreme Court website. If the jurors are unable to be there for the whole trial, they may be eliminated from the pool. Each attorney has the chance to ask questions as well. This helps eliminate jurors who are partial or have preexisting prejudices relating to the trial.
Information Shared with the Jury in a Court CaseOur justice system may be based on the idea that juries are impartial, but that isn't always the case. After all, people have ideas and thoughts about claims and liability, so their opinion is mixed with some of the facts. In order to keep the jury focused on the issues at hand, Florida has what is known as a "nonjoinder" statute.
According to FL §627.4136, "the insurer's presence shall non be disclosed to the jury" when an accident victim's claim for benefits is brought to the courtroom. In the past, juries tended to side with plaintiffs if they knew that the defendant had insurance to pay for the settlement. These days, the jury can still award a settlement to the plaintiff, but they are unsure whether it's the defendant or their insurance company paying for it. The settlement proceeds can come from the defendant's insurance company, but the jury doesn't know that.
Facing a Lawsuit? Get Experienced Help
When you're facing the possibility of a lawsuit, there is no room for error. An accident attorney knows that this is an important time that requires thorough review of laws and legal precedents.