Serving on a jury is a unique right that we enjoy as Americans. Because the law grants trials by a jury of one’s peers, it is common to be summoned to serve jury duty at a trial in your area. What makes someone eligible to serve jury duty? In Alabama, a pool of potential jurors is randomly selected from the local population of individuals eligible for jury duty.
In the state of Alabama, a prospective juror is considered to be qualified if they are a citizen of the United States, a resident for more than 12 months, over age 19, have the ability to read and follow instructions given in the English language, are not afflicted with any disease or handicap which obstructs the physical or mental requirements of a juror, and have not been convicted of any crime defined as having “moral turpitude” which resulted in the loss of their voting rights.
When the trial deals with personal injury, that trial would be considered a civil trial. If you are selected for a jury of a civil trial where one party is seeking damages against another person or business, one important piece of information you are not allowed to know is if there is insurance available to pay for those damages.
It is important to keep this information in mind, because as a jury member, you may see the defendant and sympathize with him. You may not want to make him pay tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, even if the evidence is clear that that amount of money is what it would take to pay for their negligence.
In reality, 99% of the time, the defendant will actually have to pay nothing. It is his insurance company that will pay for the damages, and you as a juror are not allowed to know that, and by extension not allowed to know how much coverage the defendant has.
Juror sympathy for the defendant in the case, often caused by not knowing how much coverage the defendant has, can cause a ruling in the defendant’s favor, leaving the injured plaintiff without fair compensation for their injuries.
David Greene, when asked about this situation, said, “It’s a problem that we see often. People, who through no fault of their own, are in accidents causing terrible injuries, yet the person responsible for the accident and his insurance company get away without paying what they are supposed to pay, because a jury member may have pity on the defendant.”
At Greene & Phillips, our primary focus is on making sure our clients are getting the compensation for their injuries that they deserve. Living and working in Mobile, our attorneys are equipped to serve you and your case. During your treatment following your accident, our team of attorneys and support staff ensures that the maximum value for your case is being pursued. If you have been injured due to no fault of your own, or if you have any further questions about dealing with the insurance company or jury duty, come by our office anytime, or call us at (251) 300-2000. We are available 24/7, and you never need an appointment at Greene & Phillips.