Sometimes, cases are clear-cut. In fact, sometimes, the defense may even admit liability. Other times, however, each side will strongly present almost diametrically opposed descriptions of the underlying facts, and leave it in the jury’s hands to decide which side is more credible. In any injury case, but especially if your case falls into that latter category, you need to make sure that your outcome is decided by a jury free of prejudicial misconduct. If jury misconduct does happen, you need to know how to handle it. In other words, no matter what comes you way, you need to make sure that you have experienced New Orleans personal injury counsel on your side to handle your auto accident case.
An example of a case involving jury misconduct, and how the injured plaintiff was able to secure a new trial, was T.G.’s lawsuit. T.G.’s injuries allegedly occurred in a one-car accident. According to T.G.’s complaint, an employee of a Lafayette-area towing business backed out of a private driveway and into the path of A.M., the driver in whose vehicle T.G. was a passenger. A.M. made an evasive effort to avoid the towing business employee. She succeeded, but lost control and ended up in a ditch. That impact was what caused T.G.’s injuries. The towing business alleged that its employee pulled back into the driveway when he saw A.M. approaching and that the foggy conditions, the wet roads and A.M.’s speeding were what caused her to end up in the ditch, not the employee’s driving.
In this case, the jury allegedly did not follow all of the rules required of them. The alternate juror informed the judge and both sides’ lawyers that the jury had begun discussing the merits during the trial and before the court instructed them to begin deliberations. In fact, the jury took only a matter of a few minutes to return with a verdict in favor of the defendants.
T.G. moved for a mistrial. A mistrial means that there was a procedural error and, as a result, the case must be re-tried from the beginning. In situations where a tainted process improperly leads to a defense verdict, a mistrial can be an important “win” for an injured plaintiff. When it comes to seeking a mistrial to get the new trial you need, there are certain things you have to demonstrate. The error that occurred in your trial must have been “significant, ongoing and widespread.” Furthermore, it must be something that cannot be fixed simply by the judge giving the jury an admonition.
In T.G.’s case, the judge’s questioning of the jurors revealed that they had begun discussing the merits of the case almost from the start of the trial and that the jurors had made up their minds that the defendants were not liable “[p]retty much from the opening statement.”
When the information before the court looks like that, then it is a fairly clear-cut case of severe error and profoundly prejudicial misconduct by the jury. T.G. was entitled to the mistrial he sought and received the opportunity to re-try his case before a new, unbiased jury.
You may have certain disadvantages that you must overcome as part of your auto accident injury lawsuit. One of those should never be a jury that has engaged in misconduct. Whatever the hurdles you face in your injury case, be confident that you have the legal representation that you need. Contact the Cardone Law Firm to find out more about how our skilled Louisiana injury lawyers can help your family get the compensation you deserve.
For your confidential consultation contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
Delayed Onset Pain and your Louisiana Auto Accident Case, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 7, 2019
Drivers Distracted Take a Terrible Toll on Louisiana’s Roads, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Sept. 5, 2018