May 11, 2015 • Legal Terminology
Is the potential juror closer to the type of person who believes that the plaintiff has to show with 100% certainty that what they are claiming is true? This is an important aspect to consider during jury selection.
Burden of Proof
During jury selection in an accident case, medical malpractice case, or even wrongful death case, your lawyer will have the opportunity to speak to potential jurors, who are about ready to determine whether they are going to be sitting, listening, and deciding your case. One of the key items that lawyers talk about during jury selection is something known as the burden of proof.
Technically, lawyers are not allowed to go into and give jurors the law about what they are required to prove. In reality, your lawyer does not have to show that you are 100% correct. The jury also does not have to sit there week after week, trying to figure out and be 100% sure that what the injured victim is claiming is true. This is because the law does not require you to show with 100% certainty that what you are claiming is actually true.
Being More Likely Right than Wrong
Instead, you only have to show that you are more likely right than wrong.
What does this mean? It means you have to tip the scales of justice, ever so slightly. By doing that, by showing that you are slightly more than 50% correct, the jury will be fully justified in giving a verdict in your favor. Obviously, the potential jurors have not yet heard any testimonies in the jury room, since the lawyers are simply exploring the ideas, perceptions, and beliefs of these potential jurors.
However, your lawyer will have the opportunity to ask questions to find out from them if they are going to be hard headed or obtuse about being 100% certain. In fact, the judge will inform the jurors at some point that they do not have to be 100% certain about what the plaintiff is claiming is true. The judge will tell them that they have to find out only who is more likely right than wrong, where the scales are tipped ever so slightly.
During jury selection, your lawyer can ask follow up questions after extracting answers to his or her main questions. This questions and answers session will provide critical insight to your lawyer about what these potential jurors are thinking about, and whether they would be the right type of jurors to decide on this particular matter. Based on this logic and reasoning, your lawyer can ask a potential juror if he or she is particular about being 100% certain.
A Potential Waste of Time
If the juror is fanatical about being absolutely certain then this juror can be excused because they are not getting it and they could be a threat to your case. If such jurors are accepted to be on the jury then they can take a long time to reach a conclusion or they might not even be able to reach one, and your whole case will have to be tried again.