In an auto accident lawsuit, you may find yourself facing a jury instead of negotiating with the other party privately. If your case does proceed to the jury, all of the attorneys involved in the lawsuit will have an opportunity to interview potential jurors. Once the jury is selected, it is up to the plaintiff to show that the defendant was negligent. It is the defense’s job to disprove any evidence used against them.
When the jury decides which driver is at fault for an accident claim, there are four factors that it will look at the most – and these factors could easily make or break an accident case.
Four Factors that Play a Role in a Jury’s Decision
1. Which Driver Could Have Avoided the Accident?
Often, jurors will ask themselves which driver could have avoided the accident. They likely all have experience driving vehicles, and they are more than aware of the vulnerabilities associated with such. However, jurors may ask themselves if the plaintiff could have avoided injury and accident, or if the accident was out of his or her control.
If the accident could have resulted in a missed collision, then the jury may seek a different court outcome. For example, in a rear-end collision, say the lead car was struck because the other driver was texting and talking. There is no way for that lead vehicle to prevent or avoid the accident, but there was certainly a way for the driver who rear-ended the lead car to avoid the accident. So, the jury would most likely award a settlement to the plaintiff and against the driver who did the rear-ending.
2. Which Driver Had More Options?
Sometimes, both drivers can avoid an accident, so it comes down to who had the best opportunity to stop the accident. This is applied as 20/20 hindsight, and a jury may conclude that a driver who had multiple ways to react could have avoided the accident.
3. What Police or Accident Investigators Have to Say
Oftentimes, each side will have an accident investigator to help prove the case, if there is a dispute as to which driver was at fault. Jurors will weigh that information, especially when deciding who the experts feel was at fault. They may also consider police testimony and the police report, if that report is allowed in court (ONLY admissible in court of the police officer is in court to testify about his or her report).
4. What Eyewitnesses State
Most importantly, eyewitness testimony influences the jurors. When a witness says that he or she saw the defendant texting and driving, that solidifies it for the jury. If, however, the witness says that the plaintiff could have avoided the accident, it may not be as simple.
Proving Your Case is More than Convincing a Jury – It is About Evidence and Representation
You could have plenty of evidence indicating that the other party is at fault, but it is all about how that evidence is presented to the jury or insurance adjuster. When evidence is strong and presented well, insurance companies are more likely to settle and the jury is more likely to provide you with a fair settlement.