What To Know About The Philadelphia Jury Selection Process
The jury selection process in personal injury cases can play a critical role in the outcome of the trial. It is the process by which a group of people are chosen to hear the evidence and decide the case. Therefore, it is important to understand how selection works to ensure that your case is presented in the most favorable light possible.
Jury selection begins with a judge randomly calling potential jurors from a pool of individuals who have been summoned for jury duty. Then, the judge, attorneys, and sometimes even the plaintiff (victim) and defendant (alleged at-fault party) can question the potential jurors to determine if they are biased, have any conflicts of interest, or have any personal experiences that may make them unsuitable for the case.
This phase of questioning potential jurors is called voir dire. During voir dire, attorneys may ask questions about the potential jurors’ backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and attitudes toward personal injury cases. Attorneys may also ask hypothetical questions to determine how potential jurors may react to certain pieces of evidence or legal arguments.
Each side is allowed a limited number of peremptory challenges, with which they can excuse potential jurors without providing a reason. However, peremptory challenges cannot be used to discriminate against jurors based on their race, ethnicity, or gender.
Challenges for Cause
Attorneys may also challenge potential jurors for cause, meaning they believe the juror has a bias or conflict of interest that would make them unsuitable for the case. These challenges can be made without using up a peremptory challenge.
Once both sides have accepted the jury or used up their peremptory challenges, the jurors are sworn in, and the trial will begin. The jury’s role is to listen to the evidence presented by both sides and determine the facts of the case. They will then use the law as instructed by the judge to reach a verdict.
Importance of Jury Selection in Personal Injury Cases
The outcome of a personal injury trial can depend largely on the jurors who are selected to hear the case. Attorneys carefully choose jurors who are most likely to be sympathetic to their client’s position and will make decisions based on the facts presented rather than personal biases or emotions. Jurors who have prior knowledge of personal injury law or have been involved in a personal injury case may have preconceived notions about the process, the plaintiff, or the defendant. Attorneys will want to select jurors who are not biased and will be open-minded when considering the facts of the case.
When is a Verdict Considered Acceptable in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania law requires that a verdict in a civil case must be unanimous, meaning that all jurors must agree on the outcome of the personal injury case. If the jurors are unable to reach a unanimous decision, this is referred to as a hung jury. In such cases, the judge may declare a mistrial, and the case may be retried with a new jury.