May 3, 2015 • Legal Terminology
What happens in a Personal Injury Case?
When you have filed a personal injury case, which could be a medical malpractice case, accident case, or even a wrongful death case, your case will eventually go to trial when settlement negotiations have failed. Your trial can take several days or even months depending on the complexity of your case and the number of witnesses each side is bringing to the stand.
After the trial is over, the judge will provide certain instructions to the jury about your case, and then the jury will be sent to a separate room to deliberate so they work on reaching a verdict. You will be eagerly waiting for the jury’s return since you have already waited a long time to obtain compensation for your injuries. You may even inquire with your lawyer pertaining to how long can a jury deliberate over your case.
Is there a Time Limit?
The answer is: a jury can deliberate for as long as they want. There is not any law that sets a time limit or any restrictions on how long a jury can take to deliberate over a case. Like a baseball game, there is not any time clock. Therefore, you could receive a verdict within a few hours, or the jury might take several days, weeks, or even longer to deliberate over a case.
When deliberations are extending passed the one day mark, the jurors are provided separate accommodations, and no one is allowed to interact with them except certain court officials who are in charge of taking care of their needs. Each day, the jurors will start their deliberations and continue deliberating throughout the day. At night, they will then retire and resume the next day if they have not reached a verdict.
In reality, the jury has to go back and decide who is responsible for what happened to you. If they find that the defendant was responsible for carelessness or some wrongdoing, the deliberations are still not over. Next, they have to see if this wrongdoing or carelessness was the direct cause of your injuries.
If the jury finds a causal link between the wrongdoing and your injuries, they will start deliberating over the extent of your injuries and the amount of compensation that should be awarded to you for the harms and losses that you have suffered. On top of this, they must consider your future and how long this suffering will continue because of your injuries.
Therefore, the jury has a lot to deliberate over germane to all categories that they must find a resolution to. Therefore, this chapter may be long. Deliberations can extend over several days, especially when there are disputes or infighting amongst the jurors, and they are not able to reach a consensus on a point or several points.
There might come a point where there is an impasse and the jury is unable to proceed further. In such instances, the judge might remind the jurors of their obligations to society about reaching a decision and providing a verdict for the case. However, again, there is no fixed time, and the jury can deliberate for as long as they want. This is not like a basketball game, there is no 15 minute quarters.