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The Importance of Jury Duty

The Importance of Jury Duty

September 19, 2008
By Willis, Willis & Rizzi, Personal Injury Attorneys

The right to a trial by a jury of your peers is provided to every citizen by both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Ohio. Who are your peers?

In Ohio, jurors are drawn from the rolls of registered voters. If you are not a registered voter, you will not be called for jury duty.

The insurance industry and big businesses encourage their employees to parti- pate in the jury process. They pay their employee while he or she serves as a juror. Why? They want to be your peer. Big business wants a voice in the jury room.

The vast majority of cases that are filed as a lawsuit in the court never go to trial. Most cases typically settle along the lines of what jurors have decided in similar cases. If juries routinely award $50 for a broken arm, then cases will settle for $50 for a broken arm. If juries, however, only award $10 for a broken arm, no insurance company will pay $50 to settle the case. If you want $50 then you will have to go to trial and ask a jury for $50. Who will be on your jury? Will your jury have people like you?

By stacking the jury with people carrying their message, the insurance industry is constantly working to lower verdicts. By lowering verdicts the insurance industry lowers what they have to pay to settle cases and in the end save money.

While some people view jury duty as an inconvenience, its benefits should be recognized. Service you provide as a juror may affect the value of a claim brought by you or your family member in the future. You never know when it might be you who’s injured as the result of someone else’s negligence. Along with the right to vote, jury duty is one of the most importance functions we perform as citizens to maintain our democracy. Make your voice heard, not just on Election Day but in the jury room too!

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