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Jury Selection in NY in a Medical Malpractice Case; What is a Peremptory Challenge?

Posted by attorney Gerald Oginski

In a civil lawsuit involving medical malpractice, an accident or wrongful death here in New York, when your case reaches trial a jury will be selected in order to resolve your dispute. Jury selection is a very significant part of your trial.

The attorneys talk to jurors to determine if they have any bias or prejudgment about your particular type of case. The people who are selected to sit as jurors on your case will hear all the testimony and evidence and at the end of your case will be given legal instructions by the judge. The jury will then have to answer specific questions to determine if you have proven your case.

If you have proven your case, the jury will then have to answer questions about how much compensation to award to you and over what period of time.

During the jury selection process the attorneys are in a room with approximately 30 potential jurors. Each lawyer has an opportunity to speak to and question the potential jurors.

After all attorneys have had an opportunity to speak to the potential jurors, the first selection process occurs.

The attorneys step out of the room and determine which potential jurors, if any, they do not want.

Each lawyer is typically given three opportunities to remove a potential juror for whatever reason. That is commonly known as peremptory challenges. That means they do not need to give any reason why they do not want that particular juror.

What happens when the lawyer has used up those three opportunities and there are still people remaining that are not ideal for his client or his case?

The attorney will then have to question those jurors further to determine if they have any bias or prejudice. The attorney then must give the judge who supervises jury selection a reason he believes a particular juror would not be acceptable for this case.

The judge who supervises jury selection would then have to make a decision that either excuses this potential juror or keeps him on.

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