Summoned for Jury Duty? Important Facts Every Juror Should Know

As personal injury attorneys, we have taken many cases to trial. After reaching a verdict, we are able to speak with the jury and gather valuable information about their experience. Certain laws prevent those summoned for jury duty from being entirely aware of what goes on behind the scenes of a trial. The selected jurors are often upset when this information is provided after they have been required to give their verdict. In a civil trial, jurors may be responsible for determining liability and compensation for damages, so it is important they know the facts.

  • Insurance is typically involved. There are laws that forbid mentioning the word insurance in the courtroom. This includes mentioning any coverage the defendant may have, such as auto insurance, commercial liability coverage, excess policies or malpractice insurance. This can leave jurors wondering if the damages will be paid out by the defendant personally or an insurance company.
  • Comparative negligence and the 51 percent rule. The amount awarded to the plaintiff from the jury’s verdict will be reduced depending on the percentage at which the jury finds each party at fault. The 51 percent rule makes it important for the jury to consider the negligence of all parties involved when filling out the verdict form at the end of the trial. If they find the plaintiff 51 percent responsible for what happened, the plaintiff will recover none of the awarded amount.
  • There are usually several attempts to settle before the case moves to trial. Mediation is usually attempted before going to trial. However, if the parties are unable to come to an agreement and the case is not settled, it will go to court where the jurors are not allowed to know about any settlement communications. Even the judge is not aware of what happens during mediation and is only given a statement as to whether the case was settled or not in mediation.
  • The verdict can be changed. In rare instances, judges have the power to order a new trial or change the jury’s verdict. The judge has the ability to add or reduce the awarded amount or have a retrial based on the evidence. This can also happen due to certain laws that place a cap on rewards.

While most people are not happy to be summoned for jury duty, it can be an invaluable experience and is very important for the parties involved in the trial. The Law Office of Daniel D. Horowitz, III PC has extensive experience taking cases to trial. If you or a loved one is in need of representation, call (832) 460-5181 or contact us online to speak with our experienced Houston personal injury attorneys and learn how we can help.