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Should you choose a judge or jury to hear a personal injury case?

You may wonder how people decide whether to have a judge or jury hear their personal injury case at trial. It's up to the plaintiff, although the decision is usually made based upon the advice of his or her attorney.

Your attorney will advise you on whether you have a better chance at a successful personal injury case with a judge or jury. While the decision is up to you, your attorney has a lot of experience in these types of trials and with specific judges. Putting that knowledge and experience to work for you is one reason why you hired the lawyer you did to represent you.

A jury is often a good choice for personal injury cases that are fairly straightforward. A compelling, sad story is often better received by a jury than it is by a judge who hears this type of case day in and day out. A complex case is often better received by a judge. The judge will be familiar with the legal problems that might arise, as well as the damages you would be permitted to receive. It's often easier for a judge to understand the complexities than it is for a jury.

In most cases, you are headed to trial because a settlement could not be reached in your case. The defendant may not feel as though you have a case at all and wants to go to trial to try to prove that. Your lawyer accepted your case because he or she believes that it is a case where you stand a good chance of being awarded compensation. It's good to listen to the advice of your lawyer in a personal injury case, but the decisions like whether to have a judge or a jury hear your case are ultimately up to you.

Source: FindLaw, "Should You Have a Judge or Jury for Your Personal Injury Trial?," Ephrat Livni, Esq., Jan. 12, 2016

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