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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    10

    Default Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California
    Just a question of curiosity here. Are there any statistics on what percentage of car injury cases that go to trial result in a defeat for the plaintiff?
    I just served on a jury in which we found the defendant not guilty. Zero awards. The attorney for the plaintiff looked pretty deflated. The case had dragged on for 4 years. Do lawyers expect to lose a certain percentage of cases?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,947

    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    Quote Quoting Andy_Rooney
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    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: California
    Just a question of curiosity here. Are there any statistics on what percentage of car injury cases that go to trial result in a defeat for the plaintiff?
    None that I'm aware of.

    Quote Quoting Andy_Rooney
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    I just served on a jury in which we found the defendant not guilty. Zero awards. The attorney for the plaintiff looked pretty deflated. The case had dragged on for 4 years. Do lawyers expect to lose a certain percentage of cases?
    Lawyers expect that when they go to trial, particularly before a jury, that there is a chance they will lose or that the outcome will not be as good as they had anticipated. And lawyers (at least those who take on some challenging cases) expect that they will not win every case they try. In personal injury law plaintiff's lawyers know they'll lose some cases, but the fees they get from the winners make up for that. Even so, trial lawyers are competitive and hate to lose any case they take to trial, so the reaction of the plaintiff's attorney in your case isn't unusual.

    And perhaps the case isn't yet over for the plaintiff. If the plaintiff's attorney thinks that the judge made one or more significant errors in rulings in the case the plaintiff will appeal the case and try to get the judgment reversed. That would get the plaintiff a new trial.

    And a small point, but one that should be clarified. In a civil case there is no "guilt". Guilt is a concept that applies to criminal trials. In a personal injury case the jury either finds the defendant liable or not liable for the injury, and if the former the jury determines the damages to be awarded.

    Finally, as a lawyer who tries cases myself (though not personal injury) I want to thank you for serving on the jury. Lots of people try to get out of jury service, but juries are an important part of our civil and criminal justice systems and I always appreciate jurors who take the time to really pay attention to the trial and try to reach a just result. That's what I think we'd all want if we were a party to a case in trial — that our fate would be decided by jurors who are impartial and try hard to reach the right outcome.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    Quote Quoting Andy_Rooney
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    I just served on a jury in which we found the defendant not guilty.
    I'm curious as to the details of the accident and why the jury found the defendant not liable.

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    Lots of people try to get out of jury service,
    Don't get me started. I have one item on my bucket list and it's to be on a jury.

    I've been called 6 times in the last 13 years and never been picked. Didn't even make it into voir dire until the last time. Would have been a 6 week criminal trial involving drugs, prostitution and money laundering. After the first few questions the judge called out random numbers starting from the other side of the room. I was number 200 something. Didn't even come close. That was 2016. Maybe I'll get called this year.

    Would it surprise you to know that my favorite jury movie is 12 Angry Men? The Henry Fonda version, not the others.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    24,393

    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    I've been called for jury duty five times. I don't know about other states but in MA you call the night before and are told whether or not to report. Twice I was told not to report. One time I made it into the courtroom but was not placed on a jury, and twice I never made it out of the juror room; they held us there till noon and sent us home. I'm willing to serve but the Commonwealth of MA doesn't seem interested.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,890

    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    I have never served on a petit jury but I did serve on a county grand jury for (I think) 13 weeks. That was an eye opening experience into the criminal judicial system.

    In the 70's, 80's, and 90's I could get out of jury duty with a phone call because I was self-employed. That changed and you had to report no matter what.

    The last time I was called, it was a medical malpractice case resulting in the death of a fetus. The jury room was packed. When we got to the courtroom, it was standing room only and the judge explained the case. This case will take 8 to 12 weeks to try. There were 6 attorneys for the plaintiff and 8 for the defendants.

    The judge recessed and took all the attorneys into chambers. When they returned, he asked who in the jury pool would like to serve. He then told those persons to go out into the hall and give their jury numbers to the bailiff. He then dismissed all students and people with scheduled medical procedures. The rest of us had to go back to the jury room and wait to see if the could fill the jury from the people that wanted to serve. It took all day. But in the end, I was dismissed.

    I could be excused because of age but in 2017 they amended the law to age 75. I have a few years to go now but I am still self-employed.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    Quote Quoting cbg
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    I've been called for jury duty five times. I don't know about other states but in MA you call the night before and are told whether or not to report. Twice I was told not to report. One time I made it into the courtroom but was not placed on a jury, and twice I never made it out of the juror room; they held us there till noon and sent us home. I'm willing to serve but the Commonwealth of MA doesn't seem interested.
    My county seems about the same.

    Decades ago it was easy to get out of jury duty if you had family and job obligations. I was always willing but as soon as I put down my occupation in the insurance business it was no thanks.

    These days excuses have been eliminated on the jury call and reporting is mandatory, though one can get dismissed for hardship after reporting.

    Now that I am retired and have plenty of time, there's at least the possibility of making it to voir dire.

    Here, it's optional to be excused at age 75 or over.

    I'm going to hang in there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    10

    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    I'm curious as to the details of the accident and why the jury found the defendant not liable.
    Each party claimed that the other swerved into their freeway lane. The plaintiff claimed that someone "cut him off" and so he had to hit the brakes, then got hit from behind by the defendant, then claimed injury as a result of the crash. According to the plaintiff, the cut-off driver left the scene. No video evidence, no witnesses (other than the parties involved), no skid marks.
    The best evidence was the defendant's crash expert who determined that the angle of the crash proved that the defendant's side of the story was true. At that point, in our minds as jurors, it was the plaintiff attorney's job to call a crash expert to refute the defendant's expert. They called nobody. The cop who arrived onto the scene to investigate, concluded that the driver who cut off the plaintiff was at fault. That didn't help the plaintiff's cause either.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Statistics on Cases That Go to Trial

    Ah, the old phantom car story.

    My guess is that the Plaintiff was going too fast or following too closely and when the car in front of him slowed abruptly he had to over correct and ended up in the Defendant's lane.

    I've seen it often on my own freeways.

    I think the jury made a good call.

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