MAY JUDGE SPEAK TO JURORS ALONE?
One sunny day, you are driving on Route 4 in Paramus. The mall beckons on the right. However, before you can make the turn, a careless driver changing lanes and sideswipes you.
The side of your car now looks like a croissant. Worst of all, you feel pain. Throbbing pain runs through your back, right arm and right shoulder.
The Paramus police arrive on scene. The arrange for an ambulance to take you to the hospital.
Right after you leave the emergency room, you call an accident lawyer local to the Paramus area. You hire the accident attorney. But the insurer for the other driver refuses to pay a fair monetary settlement.
Accordingly, your accident lawyer files a lawsuit. Trial day comes.
You tell the jury what happened. Your accident lawyer calls to the stand a doctor to testify as to what your injuries were. The doctor further explains to the jury that some of your injuries are permanent.
Testimony closes. Thus, the jury retires to deliberate. After a day, they inform the judge that they are deadlocked.
DEADLOCKED JURY PROVOKES TALK FROM JUDGE
The next day, before the lawyers arrive, the judge speaks to the jurors without the lawyers present. There is no court stenographer there either, to take down exactly what the judge and jurors say.
A few hours later, the jury returns a verdict against you.
Naturally, you are disappointed. But your accident lawyer tells you not to worry. What the judge did was unfair. Therefore, the accident lawyer will file an appeal. He assures you that you have a good chance to win.
Something like this story took place recently in a New Jersey personal injury case. The appeals court ruled that the trial judge’s conduct deprived the victim of a fair trial. Therefore, the appeals judges reversed the unjust verdict. Thus, the victim will get another day in court.
The victim in the actual court case was lucky. Her accident lawyer failed to object to the judge’s conduct. That could have cost her the appeal. If you are ever injured, be careful to hire an experienced accident attorney. Your case may depend on it.