You may have heard that a personal injury trial is a jury trial. In most cases that go to trial, it’s a jury that decides who wins the case. The jury decides whether the other side has legal liability. They also determine the amount of compensation that you deserve.
With your case in the jury’s hands, you might wonder about the functions of the judge during the trial. There is still a judge in your case, and they play a vital role in the proceedings. Here is information about what a judge does in an injury case from our experienced personal injury lawyers.
What Does a Judge Do in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, the judge manages the court proceedings. They rule on issues of presentation of evidence. They decide preliminary motions. As the parties disagree about what evidence should be allowed at trial, the judge makes decisions by applying the law. If there’s a jury trial, it’s the jury that decides the facts and who wins the case. However, if there’s no jury, the judge is the one who rules on the judgment based on the testimony presented at trial.
What Is the Role of a Judge in a Jury Trial?
The role of a judge in a jury trial is to ensure that the proceedings are fair for both parties. The judge rules on objections and disagreements about the presentation of evidence. They’re also in charge of managing the courtroom in terms of keeping the trial on schedule and coordinating start and end times for daily court proceedings. At the end of the trial, the judge reads the jury instructions for the jury to follow when they make their deliberations.
What a Judge Does in a Personal Injury Case
Here are some of the functions of a judge in a personal injury case:
Makes decisions about pleadings – If either side objects to the pleadings, the judge decides who is correct. They also make decisions about whether to allow either party to amend the pleadings at any stage in the case.
Issues scheduling orders – Personal injury cases move forward according to a schedule. The judge may issue a scheduling order that creates deadlines for completing discovery, filing motions, and going to mediation. The scheduling order may depend on what issues are present in the case.
Decides preliminary motions – The parties have important work to do before the trial even begins. One or both parties might move the court for summary judgment. The judge must decide if summary judgment is appropriate. There may be other preliminary motions about expert witnesses, property inspections, medical evaluations, and the presentation of evidence. How the judge decides these motions can significantly change the course of the case.
Oversees selection of the jury – Choosing a fair jury is one of the most important parts of any personal injury case. The parties may ask the judge to remove a juror for good cause, and the judge must decide if they agree. The judge ensures that the parties follow the rules and choose a jury that’s fair based on the law.
Governs the trial process – Every personal injury trial must follow the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure. The judge ensures that the parties follow the rules for things like opening statements, questioning witnesses, and admitting evidence for the jury’s consideration. If a question comes up about excusing a juror, the judge makes the final decision. In a lot of ways, the judge is the boss of the trial proceedings. They even decide when to break for lunch.
Gives jury instructions – Even though it’s the jury that decides who wins the case, the jury still needs to know what laws to apply. It’s the judge that reads the law to the jury. The parties may have disagreements about what laws apply in the case. The judge decides what to tell the jury about the laws that they need to follow.
Signs orders – A court speaks through their written orders. A judge signs orders that tell the parties what to do in their case. Only an order with the judge’s signature is legally enforceable.
What’s the Point of a Judge If There’s a Jury?
The point of a judge if there’s a jury is to make sure that the jury hears the evidence fairly. There are rules for how court proceedings go. The judge makes sure that the parties follow the rules. In addition, the judge swears in witnesses. The judge starts and ends the proceedings and keeps the courtroom operating in an orderly fashion. The decisions that the judge makes may have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of the trial.
What Does the Judge Do During a Trial?
During a trial, the judge begins and ends court each day. They direct the parties to call witnesses. As the parties make objections and move to admit evidence, the judge makes decisions based on the law. In addition, the judge maintains order in the courtroom by managing the proceedings and punishing contempt. At the end of the trial, the judge decides what jury instructions are appropriate, and they read them to the jury.
Judges and Personal Injury Cases
When you have a personal injury case, it’s important to understand the role of the judge. The judge can decide a motion for summary disposition. But outside of that context, the judge doesn’t have the power to throw out a case. Similarly, unless you make a motion for summary disposition, the judge can’t decide a case in your favor, either.
However, the decisions that they make along the way about the presentation of evidence are critical to ensuring that you get justice in your case. An experienced attorney can help you understand what to expect from the judge as your case moves through the justice system.
Contact Our Nevada Personal Injury Attorneys
Do you have a personal injury case? Are you wondering about the role of the judge in your case? The experienced personal injury attorneys at Adam S. Kutner& Associates can help.
Our skilled legal team pursues your case from all angles until you reach the best possible result. They can help you bring the appropriate preliminary motions and raise issues to the judge that strategically place your case in the best possible position for trial. If you have an injury case, don’t leave it to chance. Contact us today for a free consultation about your claim.