What Should a Jury Know in a Personal Injury Trial?
Posted in Personal Injury on June 6, 2019
When entering the legal realm for the first time, court hearings may impose a certain level of intimidation. Navigating your trial with the help of a lawyer often reduces some level of stress because they understand court proceedings and can guide you accordingly. One important factor that you should learn more about in reference your trial is the jury. A jury is a body of everyday people assigned to your case. They discuss your evidence and decide whether you are guilty. In the courtroom, the jury must know some pieces of information, though other information they should not.
What Does a Juror Need to Know?
On a basic level, a jury needs access to the following information:
- Instructions and laws that are relevant to the case. This is vital information because informed jurors are more likely to operate on fact versus how they feel about a case. Though jurors must check their own personal opinions and biases at the door, they are still human.
- Pictures that illustrate the accident and consequential injuries. Providing the jury with visual evidence can be more effective in portraying the severity of an accident and the injuries it caused. This is one reason why evidence-gathering is so important before you stand trial.
- Specific documentation and other forms of communication that explain the details surrounding the case.
- Additional forms of evidence that could support your case. This includes witness testimony and statements given by expert witnesses. This last category allows claimants to introduce unique forms of support if they possess any.
In some personal injury cases, claimants withhold information that they don’t see as relevant or beneficial to their cause. Sometimes, not withholding important information makes your trial harder. For instance, the insurance coverage an individual has and the amount they pay for it can impact the jury’s ruling in your trial.
For example, a claimant might not demand full recovery for their damages, assuming that a defendant could not pay it. Securing the defendant’s insurance information could prove that they are more than capable of paying the claimant’s damages. As such, seemingly irrelevant facts might actually hold sway in court. This type of information creates juror bias in some cases.
What Should I Withhold?
When you go to a hearing that utilizes a jury, understand that some information is such that the jury cannot know or possess. For instance, a jury cannot possess or read transcripts of testimony given on trial. During deliberation, the jury must operate based off memory of the court’s proceedings. Though a jury has full access to details surrounding your case, you must remember not to intentionally or unintentionally enact any form of juror bias.
One example of this is groveling or attempting to manipulate the jury by trying to make them feel bad for you. In many cases, this is unprofessional and actually works against you in the long run. This counts as an attempt to prejudice the jury, which can damage your credibility and/or result in a re-trial if you break courtroom rules through your plea. Even if your request is heartfelt and sincere, it is still a bid meant to win the favor of the jury.
Another important piece of information to withhold is your insurance information. As mentioned previously, sharing your insurance information could cause juror bias. Only share details relevant to the case. If you are a claimant seeking compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, do not overshare your financial details.
What Difference Does It Make?
Sometimes sharing more details with the court works in your favor. One cautionary note, however, is that revealing truly unnecessary details could create problems. Ideally, working with a professional attorney will prevent you from making any courtroom faux-pas. A lawyer can help you organize the evidence and information you should share with the jury while advising you in what not to say.
When in unfamiliar legal terrain, accidentally saying too much or too little could work against you. It is the safest option to consult with a local attorney before your hearing to ensure the smoothest court process possible.