Hard Times Make for Reluctant, Sometimes Angry Jurors
April 18, 2011
As if the jury system was not already flawed enough by having to deal with prejudices against Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits, the economic downturn has helped make matters even worst for those who have been victims of personal injury resulting from someone else’s carelessness.
I often tell my clients, generally, that when going to trial, they have more than their case to prove-that is first they have to prove that they are honest too goodness folks who are not faking their injuries and are not after the so called lawsuit lottery. Once they have proven this essential element of the American Tort System, then they can begin proving their case. The danger in all that is that the first prong, is largely based on personal feelings and prejudices and only requires evidence upon which neither the attorney nor the party has much control.
It’s a refrain being heard across the country: As hard times stretch into their fourth year, people are becoming increasingly uptight about leaving their work to serve on a jury. Statistics are hard to come by — nobody, apparently, is measuring the phenomenon. Still, lawyers report anecdotally that more prospective jurors are asking to be excused for financial reasons. Many are self-employed and worried they’ll lose business. Others fear their employer will find it all too easy to replace them while they’re out on jury service — permanently, perhaps.And although rare, in the most extreme cases prospective jurors have become incensed at the lawyers, the case and the entire judicial process.