How the Jury “Calculates” Your Personal Injury Award

From: All Law

How does a jury come up with its award when a personal injury lawsuit goes to trial? What goes on in the deliberation room? In order to make its decision, the jurors have to review the evidence that was presented in the trial, and consider the law that applies to the case. Read on to learn more about the jury deliberation and award process.

Reviewing the Evidence in an Injury Case

Most jurors pay reasonably close attention to the evidence during the trial. Most courts now allow jurors to take notes during the trial.

But when they begin their deliberations in the jury room after the trial, jurors will usually review the evidence quite closely with each other. They cannot have a transcript of the testimony; they must rely on their memories and their notes, but they are allowed to have all of the trial exhibits with them. They will usually discuss the evidence until they are all satisfied that they have a good handle on how the accident happened.

In an easy case, that could take less than an hour, but, in a more complex case, that could take days. After they have figured out the facts, the jurors will turn to the law.

Applying the Law: Jury Instructions vs. Emotional Appeal

Judges give juries lengthy jury instructions. They generally give these instructions at the end of the trial, but some judges give some of the instructions at the beginning or in the middle of the trial. All judges give their instructions orally, but many judges now also give a copy of the instructions to the jurors in writing.

The instructions cover every aspect of the jury’s deliberations. They explain how the jurors should deliberate, how they should analyze the witnesses and the evidence, and then explain the law of the case in detail.

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