Have you been injured due to a car accident, truck accident, or medical malpractice? If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, you may be wondering about the details of a personal injury case once it goes to court. Who will have an ultimate say in the outcome? Will the judge or the jury provide impartial oversight of your case and ultimately make the final ruling?
Many cases will differ on who will oversee in court. Judges and juries approach evidence, witnesses, etc., with differing viewpoints. A judge will view a case with the legal knowledge and understanding of the law. At Strickland and Kendall, LLC, our experienced personal injury lawyers look at the facts surrounding your case to determine which route would provide a more favorable outcome.
Note: a trial by judge when there is no jury is also called a “bench trial.” A jury is more easily swayed by the emotion of a case. Let’s take a deeper look at the differences between the two.
Bench Trials: How Does a Judge Oversee a Personal Injury Case?
When a judge presides over a case, their role is two-fold. First, they will determine whether the evidence provided should be admitted. Second, they will be responsible for determining whether the provided witnesses are credible. Both are crucial to the outcome of any personal injury case.
A bench trial is usually the best course when a case is saturated in legal jargon and requires an in-depth knowledge of the law. As previously mentioned, in a bench trial, there is no jury. The judge is responsible for both overseeing and making judgments on the case. The judge will hear from both the plaintiff and the defendant and then make a ruling based on the evidence and testimonies.
A bench trial will usually conclude faster than a jury trial because of a judge’s familiarity with legal proceedings. As an impartial individual, the judge decides what happened in a case. This eliminates the need to select individual members of a jury, quickening the process.
Jury Trials: How Does a Jury Oversee a Personal Injury Case?
If you request a jury to preside, you will have six to twelve jurors to hear and make the final ruling on your case. A jury is made up of citizens who are your peers and can come from many different backgrounds and vocations. They are not lawyers and do not have the same in-depth knowledge of the law as a judge. However, they are responsible for hearing the facts involved in the case and deciding based on those facts.
Because a personal injury case is a civil case and involves more emotional appeals, it can tend to be less complicated and easier for a jury to understand. A jury can tend to be more easily swayed than a judge when appealing to emotion and empathy in a case.
A personal injury trial by jury is most commonly pursued if the end goal is compensation for injuries and damages. The jurors are not political figures up for re-election and will not be swayed by the favor their decision grants them. They tend to view corporations and individuals differently, being empathetic towards individuals and holding companies to greater expectations. This can work in your favor when seeking better settlements from insurance companies.
Although a jury trial does not include a judge presiding over a case, a judge will give the jury instructions for the proceedings, leaving room for an appeal if the jury’s ruling is unfair.
Trial by Judge or Jury?
Presenting your case before a judge or jury can involve pros and cons based on evidence, witnesses, etc. It is best to seek legal advice from experienced personal injury attorneys before you make your final decision.
At the law firm of Strickland and Kendall, LLC, we have an expert team of experienced attorneys in several types of personal injury cases, such as auto accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. Call us today for your free consultation: 334-269-3230.