The jury selection process is one of the most important parts of any trial. A jury that listens and doesn’t have preconceived notions is more likely to render a fair verdict.
In Tennessee, the attorneys for the plaintiffs and the defendants have the right to ask prospective jurors questions to determine if they can serve fairly. The jury selection process is called voir dire. Generally, each litigant has the right to request dismissal of a small number of jurors for any reason. These challenges are called preemptory challenges. Litigants can regularly challenge any juror for cause – a clear reason to believe the juror is likely to have a bias in favor of one side or the other.
Residents of Tennessee may be called as jurors in state courts – normally the county where they live. They can also be called to serve as jurors in federal cases.
Questions asked at the voir dire jury selection process
Generally, all voir dires include some basic questions. Some of the questions jurors are likely to be asked in personal injury cases (by either the judge or a lawyer) include the following:
- What type of work do you do? Where? How long have you been doing this work? How would your spouse answer the same questions?
- Have you ever served on a jury before? Was it a civil trial or a criminal trial?
- Have you or anyone in your family been involved in a lawsuit? If so, please provide some details. Did the case settle? Was anyone injured? Were you happy or unhappy with the outcome?
- Have you or anyone in your family been involved in an accident that resulted in personal injuries? Have you suffered personal injuries for a reason other than an accident? What parts of your (or the family member’s) body were injured? Does the injured person still suffer? What treatments were provided?
- Can you apply the law as instructed by the Judge even if you don’t like or agree with that law?
Other possible questions the judge or lawyers may ask include:
- Do you have any family, emotional, physical, or other problems that would prevent you from serving as a juror for several days or weeks?
- Do you know any of the lawyers involved in the case? Do you know any of the litigants?
- Have you or anyone in your family filed a claim for personal injury benefits even though a lawsuit was never filed? If a lawsuit was filed?
- Have you or anyone in your family worked for a company that was involved in a lawsuit?
- Do you have any hearing, visual, or language problems that would affect your ability to serve as a juror?
- Have your or a family member ever been a witness in a civil case? Served as an expert in a civil case?
- The health providers in this case are the following people? Have you or anyone in your family treated with any of these people? Has anyone worked with them?
- Has anyone in your family, including you, worked in the legal or medical profession? Would that affect your ability to be fair?
- Is there any reason why you don’t think you can render a fair and impartial verdict?
Questions may vary depending on the liability issues, the type of injuries involved, and other factors.
Every attorney hopes a jury will side with his or her client. When it comes to personal injury cases, jurors who have some experience with pain may be more likely to appreciate how difficult your ability to function and enjoy life is. The Sevierville personal injury attorneys at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC understand how to build a jury that will listen to your story. To discuss your personal injury case, please call us at (865) 428-8780 or fill out our contact form. We fight for injury victims who live in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding areas. Further, if you are visiting us from out-of-town and are injured on vacation, please give us a call.
Attorney Bryan E. Delius was born and raised in Sevier County, TN. He founded Delius & McKenzie more than 20 years ago, after receiving his JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is admitted in Tennessee and in several federal court systems. Learn more about Bryan E. Delius.