When most of us think of trial by jury we picture criminal cases like murder trials. In Georgia, however, juries are also used to decide civil cases. That means that every personal injury lawsuit filed in the state of Georgia has a chance of going before a jury.
This is not the case in every state. The Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury in civil cases, but this is interpreted as applying only to federal cases. Since most civil cases are filed at the state level, it has been left to the individual states how to decide them. In many states, a judge makes the final decision on every civil suit; in Georgia, you have a right to a trial by jury.
How does a jury trial affect my case?
Jury trials have advantages and disadvantages. As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you and your lawyer have to prove that you sustained an injury or other damages, and that these damages were caused by someone else’s negligence. But the jury before you is not made up of experts on the law. They are twelve ordinary citizens, and often, the impression you make in the courtroom is just as important as the facts of your case.
Juries can be affected by:
- Prejudice, where they do not take your injury seriously because of pre-existing bias
- Sympathy, where they are especially favorable to you because they like you or feel compassion for your injury
Your lawyer can help eliminate prejudiced jurors in a process called voir dire. A good lawyer can also help prepare you to make the best possible impression on the jury.
Have you been injured? John Foy & Associates offers a free consultation with some of the most experienced and respected personal injury lawyers in Georgia. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.