In the Dallas / Fort Worth area, jury trials are almost always requested in personal injury cases, whether it be a car accident case, slip and fall case, etc. Either party has the constitutional right to request a jury trial. However, in the vast majority of personal injury cases in this area, it is the defendant’s lawyer (who is most likely hired by the defendant’s insurance company) that requests the jury trial. By having a jury empaneled to decide the case, the defendant’s lawyer and insurance company are counting on two things.
First, jurors tend to be frustrated by the fact that they have been called down to jury duty and may hold that frustration against the plaintiff who actually brought the case. However, if you are a resident of the Dallas / Fort area and are called down to jury duty in a personal injury case, you can most likely thank the defense team for requesting the jury trial.
Second, jurors in the Dallas /Fort Worth area tend to be conservative in favor of a verdict for the defense or a verdict awarding very little money damages. In this era of “tort reform,” the insurance companies have been very successful in lobbying politicians for legislation that limit jury awards. The hype from this propaganda funnels down into the general public’s perception that personal injury cases are “money-making” scams and not worthy of our legal system.
It is important for potential jurors to understand and appreciate these dynamics in a typical personal injury case. Otherwise, we run the risk of insurance companies controlling our legal system behind closed doors while also controlling the jury’s mood and perceptions of the case before any evidence is ever seen or heard.