Your personal injury case went to trial, but now the judge is declaring a mistrial. At this point, you will have plenty of questions. Naturally, you should direct those questions to your attorney. However, while waiting for a meeting, you can refresh yourself on the facts of a mistrial and how it impacts your case.
Keep in mind that a mistrial is not the end. Even if a mistrial is declared, your attorney can refile and you can start the process over again. Sometimes, insurance companies will settle when a mistrial occurs – especially if it was their side’s fault.
What is a Mistrial?
A mistrial is one that is determined invalid by the presiding judge due to an error in the proceedings. The jury is dismissed, and the process must start over again with a new jury. Sometimes, a mistrial is determined when the jury overseeing the personal injury claim cannot agree on a verdict.
Common Reasons for Mistrials in a Personal Injury Case
There are common reasons for a mistrial declaration in a personal injury case. These include:
- Juror misconduct. Jurors have to act in a specific manner. They are not allowed to contact specific parties; if they do, the judge may declare a mistrial. For example, jurors are not allowed to speak with either side’s attorney.
- Mentioning excluded evidence. During the motion phase of trial, each side will petition the court to exclude certain items or evidence. If either side mentions the excluded evidence multiple times to taint the jury, the judge could declare a mistrial.
- Making derogatory remarks. Each side represents their case in the best interests of their client, but that cannot include being unprofessional or saying anything derogatory about the other side. Making a derogatory remark that could create a biased jury is grounds for a mistrial.
- Expressing personal opinions. While the opening and closing statements are more casual than presenting evidence, counsel cannot express personal opinions on the issues. Instead, they recite the facts that they were allowed to present in court.
- References to discrimination in a claim that has no grounds for discrimination. Even if the plaintiff believes he or she was injured due to discrimination, if the case is not based on discrimination, there can be no mention of it. Doing so could result in a mistrial.
- Vouching for a witness. A witness must prove his or her own credibility. An attorney for either side should not be vouching for the witness in any way.
When Would a Retrial Take Place?
The retrial will depend on the schedule of each party, as well as the courts. Sometimes, the judge will have the attorneys come back in a day, a week, or even a month to resolve legal issues and set a new trial date. Therefore, there is no way to accurately determine when the retrial takes place.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney About Your Injury
Have you been injured? Do not try to settle with the insurance company. Instead, contact B. Clarke Nash. As a personal injury lawyer, he dedicates his time to teaching his clients about their rights and the legal process, and to ensuring that they receive the compensation they deserve.
Schedule a consultation with him today by calling 912-200-5292 or requesting more information online.