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If my case goes to trial, will it be decided by a judge or jury?

If you are victim of negligence and are injured as a result, there is a chance that your case is unable to be resolved prior to filing suit, or even prior to trial.  However, before a jury is impaneled in your case, there are multitudes of legal hurdles to clear.

Once suit is filed on your behalf, you can expect the defense to propound lots of questions for you to answer, both in writing and in person for your deposition.  This is referred to as the discovery phase of the trial, and it is designed to assist both parties to learn all available facts before putting your fate in the hands of a jury.

Also, prior to trial, you can expect the defense to file dispositive motion in an attempt to wreck your case.  They may challenge the basis for jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss.  They may file a Motion for Summary Judgment based on some issue of law.  In those instances, the judge, who sits as the trier of all legal issues, will decide the issues of law.

However, once the case is ripe for trial, all jurisdictions in this country afford you to impanel a jury of your peers pursuant to the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution to decide all questions of fact.  Unless both parties waive the right to a jury, which is rare but can be part of a larger strategy, the jury will be the body that will consider all evidence, listen and decide the credibility and testimony of the witnesses, and will ultimately judge the case based on the merits and facts of the case.

Prior to seating the jury, it will take months of preparation of interviewing witnesses, hiring experts, preparing jury instructions, and honing the opening statement and closing arguments before putting the case in the hands of the jury.  And selecting the jury itself is a science that requires both art and skill.

For these reasons, it is imperative to hire a veteran litigator and experienced trial lawyer.  Steve Harrelson, a veteran Little Rock personal injury lawyer, has successfully presented cases to juries for years.

Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into the American jury system.



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