When your personal injury case must go all the way to a jury trial, that jury becomes a vital key to winning your case. How can you ensure that you receive a fair and impartial jury? Can you weed out potential jurors who might be biased against your evidence and arguments?
The answer to both questions is found in the voir dire process. What is voir dire? And how will your attorney use it to help your case? Here's what you need to know.
What Is Voir Dire?
Voir dire is a French term that refers to the process of vetting potential jurors to judge their fitness to serve on this particular case. It includes factual information such as their ages and backgrounds. But, perhaps more importantly, lawyers can ask about certain attitudes or experiences which might affect their judgment during the trial.
What Does Voir Dire Look For?
The goal of a jury trial is to ask a group of people to look at the evidence impartially and judge things solely on what happens in that courtroom. Of course, all people come to the courthouse with their own personalities, worries, experiences, and points of view. Voir dire helps you get to know these so you can make informed jury choices.
Voir dire may include a questionnaire prepared by each legal team. Included are questions that specifically consider possible stumbling blocks for your case. For instance, if you were hit by a drunk driver, your team might ask jurors about their experiences with alcohol and driving. A renter who was injured on the landlord's property might want to know if any jurors are landlords themselves, as this could taint their perspective.
How Can You Help Voir Dire?
Your attorneys will handle the bulk of work to prepare for and execute voir dire. Your role is largely two-fold. The first step is to be sure you are open and honest with your legal team. Only when armed with all the facts and facing no surprises can they help choose the best jury makeup.
The second step is to be open to their expertise about juries. Juries are unfamiliar to most Americans, but your lawyer is used to working with them. While you should give input so that you feel comfortable with any changes the attorney wants to make, do let them do their job.
Where Can You Learn More?
If you may end up in court to argue your case in front of a jury, the help of a skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in litigation is key. Want to know more about how juries and jury selection work in your state? Make an appointment with a criminal lawyer to get answers to your questions.Share