how juries are chosen

While we strive to settle most personal injury claims outside of court to ensure our clients get the compensation they need sooner, this isn’t always possible. When insurance companies simply refuse to cooperate, that’s when we go to trial.

The outcomes of civil trials, just like criminal trials, are typically determined by juries. Which means the jury selection process is possibly the most important part of any personal injury trial.

If you end up with a jury that is biased against people filing personal injury lawsuits, it could hurt your chances of getting the compensation you dearly need. Luckily, jury members are not decided at random. A skilled attorney can ensure the people who wind up on your jury are ready to be fair and thoughtful when listening to your injury claim.

What Happens During Jury Selection?

As many as 100 people could be called up for jury duty out of the “jury pool” of eligible jurors (U.S. citizens over the age of 18) living in the summoning county. However, all 100 people won’t be selected to serve on the jury. The number of jurors who will actually determine your settlement is typically 12 people.

Who is eligible to be called for jury duty in South Carolina?

People cannot serve on a jury if they:

  • Have been convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year
  • Cannot read, write, speak, or understand English
  • Have a physical or mental limitation that prevents them from serving
  • Have less than a 6th grade education
  • Are employed by the county or court

People cannot be required to serve on a jury if they:

  • Are over 65 years of age
  • Are employed by the penitentiary
  • Have legal custody of children under the age of 7 that they can’t find alternative care for while serving
  • Have a “good and sufficient excuse,” such as a temporary physical disability

From the jury pool, potential jurors are whittled down through the jury selection process, which consists of the judge asking potential jurors questions to determine whether or not they are capable of being a fair and unbiased juror.

Unlike most other states, attorneys in South Carolina are not allowed to directly question jurors themselves, but they are allowed to submit a list of questions they would like the judge to ask the jurors and listen to the answers.

After all potentially biased jurors are removed, 20 of the remaining jurors are selected at random, and lawyers from both sides are each allowed to pick four jurors to remove, leaving the 12 who will serve on your case.

What Type of Questions are Asked in Jury Selection?

Because questions during jury selection are supposed to root out potential biases, common questions include:

  • Have you ever worked for an insurance company? Has any member of your family?
  • Have you ever filed a personal injury claim? Has any member of your family?
  • Do you personally know any of the parties involved in this lawsuit?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions is good reason to remove a juror, since they are unlikely to be impartial.

Jurors will also likely be asked questions related to the type of accident. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, they might be asked “are you familiar with the intersection where the accident happened?” or “do you think most people are good drivers, and why or why not?”

If you were injured by slipping in a restaurant, jurors might be asked “have you ever worked in a restaurant before?” or they might be asked “do you think someone injured in an accident always shares in the blame?”

Jurors might also be asked questions about their personal lives and tastes to see if these could indicate a bias in any way.

We Know How to Pick Juries

Because the jury selection process is so important, it’s absolutely vital to make sure your lawyer knows what they are doing if your case goes to trial. Personal injury lawyers without a lot of experience in the courtroom could hurt your chances of winning before the trial even starts, if they don’t know the right questions to ask during jury selection.

At Joye Injury Lawyers, we have over 50 years of experience helping injury victims get the compensation they deserve when they’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, and we aren’t afraid to go to court when necessary. Contact our South Carolina personal injury lawyers today to learn more about what we can do for you.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have over 300 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

Recent Blog Post
What to do in South Carolina? Events for the week of May 21-27 in Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and upstate.
What to Do in South Carolina: Joye Law Firm Staff Picks 5/21/24 – 5/27/24

    Memorial Day weekend is here, marking the unofficial start of summer. South Carolina offers a variety of fun activities, from concerts and parades to family bashes and more. Check out our staff’s handpicked events to find something for…

two vehicle car crash, both men looking at the damage
What Happens If I Was Hit by an Unlicensed Driver?

Being in a car accident is bad enough—finding out afterward that the driver who slammed into you doesn’t have a driver’s license is a heart-sinking feeling. That’s because anyone driving without a license is also unlikely to have car insurance…

What to do in South Carolina? Events for the week of May 14-20 in Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and upstate.
What to Do in South Carolina: Joye Law Firm Staff Picks 5/14/24 – 5/20/24

  The Joye Law Firm staff have handpicked an array of activities across South Carolina for the upcoming week, promising fun for the entire family. Dive into delicious culinary delights at a vibrant crab festival, embrace the spirit of history…

Kylee working in intake with a customer
Access State-Provided Vocational Services After Filing for Workers’ Comp

Most of the time, getting hurt at work isn’t a big deal.  It may take a little time to heal, but after some rest and recuperation, you are ready to pick up exactly where you left off.  Unfortunately for some,…

Awards & Recognition
CBS News
ESPN Radio logo