New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
The Judge cannot tell the Jury What Your Case is Worth
Posted on Jul 7, 2015 in Legal Terminology
Can a Judge Express his Opinion to the Jury about What Your Case is Worth
If your personal injury case goes all the way to trial, whether it is a car accident case, medical malpractice case, or even a wrongful death case, does the judge tell the jury at the end of the trial, how much he believes you are entitled to receive as part of your damages and claims you are making?
The answer is no, the judge will never ever give his opinion to the jury, about what he believes what the jury should do. The judge cannot tell the jury what your case is worth because it is not the judge’s function to tell the jury what he believes or insinuate what he thinks the victim should receive. The jury has to determine this on their own by adhering to the facts of the case.
Clear Dispute in all Personal Injury Cases
There will be a clear dispute in every one of the personal injury cases. One side will always claim that somebody was careless, negligent, or departed from good and accepted medical care, and because of that, the victim suffered a significant injury. The defense, on the other hand, will claim that they are not responsible.
So there are always clear factual disputes in all personal injury cases. The jury is the one to determine who is right and who is wrong, whom they believe and whom they not believe, who is telling the truth, and who is not. There is a clear separation between the jury’s role and the judges beliefs.
There is a Judge and Jury Divide
Jurors view the judge as someone who is reliable and an authority figure, and they expect and hope that the judge is going to guide them on what the injured victim is entitled to receive. However, the reality is something quite different. The judge does not give them guidelines; the judge does not tell them how much he thinks that the injured victim should receive. Instead, the judge tells the jury that they should use their best judgment which can be based on religious convictions, morality, financial considerations to derive at a final number, if any.
On the other hand, each of the attorneys while making their closing remarks will have an opportunity to address the topic of compensation to the jury. The lawyer will be able to tell the jury what amount in his opinion would be fair for his client to cover the harms and losses that he has suffered. The lawyer can even tell the jury, that they have every legal right to give the victim more than what he is suggesting. Similarly, the defense attorney can also tell the jury that the victim is not entitled to receive anything or entitled to only a very small amount.
Based on this logic and for the most part, it is the attorneys who are guiding the jurors on what they believe the injuries are worth. The judge cannot tell the jury what your case is worth, and ultimately, the jurors have to come to their own conclusion using their own wit.