No Compromises On Juries?
In life, when there is disagreement, coming to a compromise is often a good thing. A little give and take, a little negotiation, and some flexibility, are helpful in resolving disputes. But when it comes to serving on a jury, or a jury’s decision, compromise can not only be a bad thing, but it can actually end up overturning a jury verdict.
How Compromise Happens
When the evidence in your injury case has been fully presented and it is time for the jury to go into the deliberating rooms, there may be some disagreement. Some jurors may think the Defendant was not negligent, some may think it was. Others may think you were seriously injured, others may not. Somehow, they need to get to a resolution, so that they agree on these questions.
But compromising is not favored, and in fact, can get a verdict overturned. For example, a juror cannot say to other jurors in the course of deciding your case “I think the Defendant did nothing wrong, but I will agree that it did, if you all agree to limit the victim’s damages to $10,000.”
Why It’s Bad
This may sound like a fair compromise, but the problem is that the jury’s decision is now no longer being decided based on the evidence presented in the case–it is a product of a compromise or a give and take. The finding of liability against the Defendant, and the finding of $10,000 in damages have nothing to do with what that juror heard in trial–it had to do with a deal made between jurors to get the case decided.
Other Prohibited Strategies
Jurors can do other things that can make the verdict subject to being overturned. For example, let’s say that every juror thought that you should get a different dollar figure to compensate you for your injuries. They cannot decide which juror’s compensation figure to use.
So, they decide they will all just average what they each think you should get, and that will be your award. Or, they decide they will come up with a verdict that is “the the middle” of all the juror’s estimates of damages.
That sounds reasonable and fair but in fact, the ultimate figure (the average or middle figure the jurors came up with) is not actually a product of what the evidence showed at trial. Rather, it was the product of some formula the jurors all decided on.
How Can You Tell?
In truth, in many cases, there is no way to know exactly how a jury comes to its conclusions. There is limited ability to question jurors, and a judge is usually very hesitant to overturn a jury’s verdict. But it does happen, especially where the ultimate verdict amount doesn’t seem to bear any rational relationship to the evidence that was presented in the case. Should the judge allow jurors to be questioned, if the verdict was a result of a compromise the verdict could be overturned.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today for help with your injury case, from the start all the way to your trial.