Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Is a Judge or Jury Trial Better for My Civil Suit?

Posted Friday, October 8, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Most people assume that when they go to court they will be facing a jury, but did you know that you actually have a choice? That is right. While you have a legal right to a jury trial, you are not compelled to have one. So, what happens if you choose not to have a jury? A judge will try your case solo. This is also known as a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge will be the only person to hear both sides of the case and render a decision.

Why would anyone choose to forgo a jury? Well, perhaps the nature of your case is highly technical, and could bore or confuse a jury of regular people. Additionally, if the case involves primarily complex legal questions and/or emotional subject matter that could bias a jury against you, a judge may be a wiser selection. On the other hand, in many cases having a jury of people who are sympathetic to the subject matter of your claim could result in a completely different outcome. Ultimately, every case is different, and the kind of trial that will be best for your case rests on the specific facts and circumstances that you are dealing with.

The information in this article is intended to be general, but the best way of getting specific feedback on your individual case is to talk to an attorney and allow them to assess your claim. Many people avoid talking to a lawyer because they think it will be too expensive, but scheduling a consultation often costs very little or even nothing at all. Additionally, if your case could result in a large settlement, the law firm may be able to take it on without any up-front costs. In short, you will not know until you try talking to a lawyer, and not talking to one could result in missing out on life-changing legal guidance. The experienced Seattle-area personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Firm are ready to help. If you have a personal injury claim and would like personalized feedback, contact our lawyers today to see how we can help you.

*Choosing the Best Kind of Trial *If you decide to have a lawyer represent you, your lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best legal strategy, including whether it would be most beneficial to request a bench or jury trial. As noted above, the subject matter of your claim plays a major role in determining the most advantageous trial format, as does what will be required of the decision-maker. If the decision-maker will have to review emotionally difficult photos that work against you, a judge is likely a safer bet, as jurors may be biased (consciously or unconsciously) by the graphic subject matter. On the other hand, if your case is mostly straightforward from a legal standpoint, having a bench trial can be a safer bet. If you choose to represent yourself and not retain counsel, a bench trial is almost always preferable, as jurors can be easily prejudiced by your incompetence, and may not be as forgiving as a judge. Jurors may also mistake the stress you are feeling at having to represent yourself as an indication that you are not trustworthy.

*Schedule a Consultation *If you have a personal injury claim in the Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, and are interested in moving forward with a lawsuit, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Pivotal Law Group are ready to help you navigate the entire process. Call today to schedule your consultation.