Our system of jurisprudence originated with their fundamental right for a trial by jury. In other words, our system of justice was intended to be governed by the will of our peers; to have fate and wrongdoing be determined by a pool of society rather than a single authoritarian power. When an individual or an entity has an actionable wrong committed against it, then, in theory, a right to a trial by jury is authorized as a matter of right. Due to political powers and stressors, this system of justice and jurisprudence is not only under attack, it has been significantly compromised due to negative advertisements, creative media, and contracts compelled by the powerful to the meek. The benefits of jury trials are extensive.
Traditionally, our Court system is overseen by a Judge who determines what the laws are, and a jury to determine what the facts are. What damages are, is often within the purview of a jury as authorized by the legal guidelines which are administered by a judge.
In a personal injury context, the law provides for an aggrieved Plaintiff who has been injured through negligence by a Defendant to be made whole. But how do you make someone that is lost a limb whole? How much money is a limb worth? That is where a good lawyer can explain to a jury the true harm of the injury. Therefore, good lawyering with a sympathetic jury can award sums of money which may seem exorbitant to some.
Creative lobbying has created laws that assist Judges in reducing amounts that seem exorbitant through a remittitur procedure. Some call this an interference with our trial by juries, others call this a system of checks and balances. The result has been that the days of exorbitant jury verdicts are all but over.
But the current climate does not stop there. Laws now permit emp[loyers, for instance, to require prospective employees to waive their rights to trial by jury or even a court trial altogether through the use of an arbitrator and an arbitration proceeding. Moreover, even if an employer does not have the foresight to require an employee to enter into such an agreement prior to being employed, a conservative supreme court has permitted an increase in flexibility for Judges to dismiss cases under a Rule 56 otherwise known as a Summary Judgment proceeding.
When filing a complaint, an aggrieved plaintiff in the personal injury context (in Florida) has the option to choose trial by Jury or to waive such a right. And while the strength of the trial by jury procedure has been significantly compromised in recent years, it is still often the preferable process in a personal injury case and tort cases in general. In short, do not waive your trial by jury as the benefits of a trial by Jury outweigh the negatives. Seek an experienced attorney who can maximize the remaining rights available, and seek redress through your peers, as it was originally intended by our founding fathers.
Jury trial in the context of a personal injury case
Our Melbourne office is centrally located in Brevard County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout “the Space Coast”, including Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Vero Beach.