How Can I Positively Influence the Jury in Trial in My Florida Personal Injury Case?
Although in-person jury trials have been halted since March in Florida as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in-person jury trials will resume in Florida at some point. If you have a personal injury lawsuit, one of the key questions to ask yourself from the inception of your case is if you are prepared to go to trial. Taking your Florida personal injury case all the way through to trial requires a certain level of behavior and decorum on your part as the injured party in front of the jury to ensure that the jury perceives both you and your case as favorably as possible. The importance of this cannot be overstated.
Although many people may not realize it, the litigants in a personal injury action and their behavior at trial can make a real difference in the case’s outcome. The jury has nothing to look at for the days or even weeks that a trial may last. Therefore, they will focus on the smallest things that may not even begin to occur to either a party to a lawsuit or a lawyer who has not been through many trials. There will be dozens, if not hundreds, of differences in the stories offered by the respective sides to the lawsuit and you want the jury to be on your side when it is deciding whose version of events to believe. Thus, it is particularly important to be on your best behavior at all times in front of the jury, particularly given that as the injured party you are the person who is responsible for all the jurors being there because you brought the lawsuit in the first place.
One of the questions our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys at Schwed Adams & McGinley often receive from clients, particularly those who have made the decision to take their case to trial, is what they can do to help, and not hurt, their case at trial. At trial, you have the opportunity to impress the jury or turn the jury off depending on your behavior. This is often true in many subtle ways that the average layperson may not understand unless they have served on a jury before. Therefore, our attorneys at Schwed Adams & McGinley will always tell our clients that, if you decide to take your case to trial, you need to make sure the jury understands you are glad they are there and appreciative of their service as jurors on your case. After all, the jury is there to render a decision in your case and decide what level of compensation you will receive for your injuries caused as a result of someone else’s negligence. You therefore want the jury on your side, and acting in the most professional and positive manner positive is always the best place to start in order to help your own case.
Jury Duty in Florida
In civil cases, Florida juries consist of six people. Typically, six jurors are selected during the jury selection process with two alternates in the event one or more of the jurors can no longer serve for some reason during the course of your trial. For the entire length of your trial, these six people, and presenting yourself and your case in the best manner possible to them, should be your focus. You should do everything you can to smile at them when they enter and leave the courtroom (without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself), to be believable and honest when it comes times for you to testify, and to take any other action that implies you are grateful to the jury for the sacrifices they are making to be jurors on your case.
Jury duty is a part of living in our democracy. In Florida, a pool of potential jurors is randomly selected from the local population of all eligible individuals. In order to be eligible for jury duty in Florida, jurors must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, and a legal resident of both Florida as well as the county in which the person resides in Florida.
Many people try to do whatever they can to avoid jury duty and actually being selected for a jury can make them incredibly resentful of the party bringing the lawsuit, which is the injured person. Therefore, it is in your interest to have the jury on your side throughout your trial. One way to do this is to be as pleasant as possible to the jury throughout the entire length of your trial.
Be Pleasant to the Jury Throughout Your Trial
Given that the members of the jury are there for your case, it is important that you show them you are appreciative of their service. Expressing yourself through body language that implies you do not want to be at the trial for your own case can make the jury extremely resentful that they have to be there for days, many of which they may not be getting paid by their employer. This is absolutely the worst thing that you could do. Juries will notice if you are scowling or yawning or not even acting interested in your own case during trial.
You should therefore do what you can to express your gratitude to the jury for taking potentially unpaid time off work to serve as a juror at your trial. Smiling at the jury, facing them whenever you give testimony, and answering questions truthfully and fully (even if the answers are not necessarily particularly helpful for your case) are all subtle but important ways to win credibility with the jury. Ultimately, you want to have more credibility with the jury than the other side, because this means that the jury will likely decide the many close calls they are forced to make during the course of their deliberations in your favor on your Florida personal injury case.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and all other sorts of personal injury scenarios in Florida. During those decades of experience, our attorneys have tried hundreds of cases in front of juries throughout Florida. Not every attorney is experienced in trying cases to a jury and, more importantly, in counseling a client how to act in front of the jury in ways that will help the client’s case. We have that experience at Schwed, Adams & McGinley. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.