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Jury Trials: 12 Strangers Decide your Case

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  January 19, 2015   |  

In North Carolina most of our injured clients have the right to a trial by jury if the parties are unable to resolve their claims by negotiations. However, if your case is a Workers’ Compensation injury then you don’t have the right to a jury trial as the Industrial Commission is the sole venue for your case. This means your case will be decided by a judge rather than a jury. Likewise, if you have a Social Security case, your right to benefits will be decided by a federal administrative law judge.

Over our many years of experience, we have learned that we must always seriously consider all options of resolution prior to actually putting your case in front of a jury. This is because putting your case in front of a jury can be a gamble. In North Carolina, you must persuade all 12 jurors that you are entitled to the relief you are requesting. As you might imagine, this can be very difficult. We have tried all types of injury cases ranging from auto accidents, dog bites, premises liability involving slip/falls and injuries climbing ladders and steps, violations of constitutional rights, and even property damage cases.

As your attorneys, we never know what a jury will decide once it hears your case. Remember, there are always two sides to every case, and the jury will hear the defendant’s side after hearing your side. No matter how convinced you may be of your side, there is always a chance a jury may see things differently. In the past, we have won cases we knew were very difficult and we have lost cases that we really thought we would win. It is also important to remember that winning a case is not just about having the other party found to be at fault, but it also includes having the jury award a fair amount of compensation. Achieving both of these tasks can be difficult and the chances of success regarding both issues must be evaluated. If the jury determines that the other party was at fault but awards you little or no money for compensation, then you have won the battle but lost the war. If the other side offered more money than the jury awards you, then you may have really lost and in some instances may even have to pay the costs of the other side.

Putting your fate in the hands of 12 strangers on a jury can be risky. In most situations, you have no choice. In other situations, all offers and attempts to compromise and settle should be carefully evaluated. You never know what 12 strangers to your case will do. Let our experienced injury attorneys at Riddle and Brantley help you thoroughly evaluate the facts of your case so we can help you make an informed and educated decision about your case so you can get the justice you deserve whether through a jury trial or settlement.

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