A Delaware County Montgomery County Injury Lawyer Discusses Paralysis Injury Cases
An important stage of a jury trial involving paralysis takes place at the very outset, namely, the voir dire (generally pronounced vwa dear) of the jury. Voir dire consists of questions the attorneys ask the potential jurors to determine which of them will actually sit on the jury panel. There is a sample set of voir dire questions in Appendix 18 of my book, Winning Personal Injury Cases. Voir dire procedure varies from judge to judge. Sometimes the judge asks all the questions, with input from the attorneys. Other times the attorneys conduct the questioning. Sometimes judges do not attend voir dire. A court officer will advise the judge if a dispute requires their participation.
The Client’s Role
Clients with paralysis injuries have a very important role to play during voir dire. Your clients can provide you with their reaction to the various potential jurors. If a client’s gut instinct tells him that a certain individual would be unsympathetic to him and his case, you need to know this. Even a sideways glance by a potential juror can tip you off to some unstated hostility.
Clients should conduct themselves during voir dire, and throughout the trial, in a respectful and appropriate manner. The jury will begin appraising them and their credibility the moment they first enter the courtroom at the beginning of voir dire. If your jury feels that your client is judging them, they may feel offended. Therefore, instruct your clients to refrain from this behavior. They can express their feelings about the jury to you in private.
Lawyers: Give your client a pen and note pad to make notes during voir dire. You can use these notes to help you later recall your client’s reactions to the various jurors. During voir dire, clients can scribble messages to you to advise you of their opinion concerning individual jurors. Written messages are a better way to communicate with your client than a tap on the shoulder or a whisper. This applies during voir dire and throughout the trial. A tap or a whisper may distract you during a key moment.