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jury selection voir dire personal injury trials

You have one goal in voir dire. Find bad jurors. Hunt them out and find them. That is your goal, any other goal is subservient to that, any other goal is, not in many case contradictory to that. Your one goal in voir dire, find bad jurors. That’s what the voir dire is all about. Now what are the mistakes that I typically see as I’m sitting up there.
Mistake number 1, omitting critical questions, a lot of people just flat don’t ask questions that ought to be on every checklist in an auto collision personal injury case. E.g. who here has problems of awarding—or even thinking about awarding pain and suffering and mental anguish damages? You’d be astonished how often that I see voir dires in which that question is not asked. And I’m literally up that kind of scratching, “okay you don’t want to know?” Fine.
Second problem I see is asking the wrong question, asking the other side’s questions. What do I mean by that? Typically one of the things that you want to know in a voir dire is who has been involved in litigation? Who has filed a law suit or filed claims? Who has had claims filed against you or have law suits filed against you? Okay you want to know that. But I often see a plaintiff ask the following question. “Ah Ladies and Gentlemen; folks on the jury, folk on the panel. Who here has filed the law suit?” Number 2 number 4, tell me about that and then they don’t ask the flip side. “Who here has had a law suit filed against you?” Guys all you’ve done by asking that first question if you are a plaintiff, who here has filed a law suit? What have you done? That guy’s sitting over there next to you, your opponent; you have now told him two people that he needs to strike. All you’ve done is flag his bad jurors.
You don’t want to find your good jurors, that’s not the point of voir dire. Remember what’s the point? find the bad jurors. If there are good ones that happened to be in there, great, but if you flag them, if you identify them, then you have given the other side a strike. So, I will frequently see people ask questions that just do nothing more than illicit their good jurors. What you want to know if you are the plaintiff here is folks out there on the panel here, who here has had a law suit filed against you or claim file against you as a result of personal injured case or personal injured claim. That’s what you want to know. And then you want to talk to them and see to what extent they are going to affect their views. To what extent they are going to be fair. But your goal is to flag the bad jurors. The final, big mistake I see is arguing your case and let me profess this you know we’ve all seen the you know I call the anonymous intro like, Hi, I’m Randy and I’m an alcoholic hi randy. Well let me begin by saying, Hi, I use to argue my case in voir dire. Hi randy, I used to be the world’s worst at it. I would argue the heck out of my case in voir dire because I believe in the proposition of the primacy. That is get your arguments out there first. The problem with that is you don’t find the bad jurors.
In fact it obscures the bad jurors. Once you start selling your case, once you start propping it up and letting the jury know all the good things about your case, then it becomes harder and harder to find those jurors that have a problem with these kinds of cases in general.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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