When a personal injury case in New Orleans is brought to trial, Louisiana law and the specific rules of the court where a trial occurs control how a jury is chosen. While the details regarding jury selection may vary, here are some general rules on how this process occurs.
Jury selection starts with a large pool of people for your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer to choose from. These people will be questioned to see if they have any obvious conflict that would bar them from hearing the case.
Relatives and employees of the parties would have an obvious conflict. Other areas that may indicate an obvious conflict include having prior knowledge about the case and having previously interacted with one of the parties involved, their lawyers, or witnesses. Potential jurors with an obvious conflict may be dismissed.
The attorneys for each party will also question jurors regarding specific topics related to the case. In a personal injury case, these questions frequently involve the potential jurors’ experiences with injuries, doctors, and insurance companies — and their opinions about personal injury lawsuits. Based on their responses, some of these jurors may also be dismissed.
An unlimited number of prospective jurors may be dismissed “for cause.” An attorney requesting dismissal for cause must convince the judge that a potential juror cannot rule fairly because of some obvious bias.
Each lawyer also has a limited number of “peremptory challenges.” This challenge may be used to dismiss anyone without providing a reason or having to convince the judge. Peremptory challenges may be used when a lawyer simply feels a person would not look favorably on his or her client. It does not require that the judge be convinced that person could not be fair.
The jury in a personal injury case may consist of either six or twelve people. The first six (or twelve) people not dismissed will be placed on the jury to hear the case. One or more alternate jurors may also be chosen in case a juror must be replaced during the trial.
If you or a family member has been injured, and would like to discuss your legal options, contact us 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.
For more information about how we can help, visit gertler-law-firm.com.