Most plaintiff lawyers believe that you should always ask for a jury trial. The conventional wisdom is that a jury intimidates defendants, particularly insurance companies, and creates the possibility of a higher verdict than in a bench trial.
However, this is not always true. In many cases you are better off without a jury even as a plaintiff.
Here are ten reasons why you may want to avoid a jury trial:
- Your client is not likeable;
- The defendant is sympathetic;
- The case is very complicated and the jury will not understand it;
- The defendant is a local business or has a good reputation in the community;
- Your case is in a conservative community that would likely frown on big jury verdicts;
- You have an opportunity to have a very capable jurist preside over the trial and you have a good case;
- You are seeking to recover under circumstances that the jury may conclude would result in a legally authorized windfall;
- Your client is from out-of-state or a foreign country and/or the potential for bias is higher than normal;
- You have favorable facts and law and no potential for punitive damages; and
- Your client needs or wants to avoid the additional time and expense of a jury trial.
Although there may be other reasons why you should not make a request for a jury trial, it is important to remember that jurors have become more and more jaded with the legal process and are less likely to provide you with the extraordinary verdict many lawyers expect from juries.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.