How does the jury know what law to use when hearing deciding a case? This is a question that can sometimes fly under the radar, but it is one that is important to understand for anyone bringing a case in which a jury will decide the merits. As one person asked me, “does the jury just make up the law for the case?” The answer to that question would be, no.
Please remember that for this article I will be basing my analysis on how we do things in Maryland, and Maryland law. If you are wondering how things are done in your state if you are reading and watching the video outside of Maryland, confer with your attorney regarding how things are done in your state.
WHAT LEADS UP TO THE JURY TRIAL?
In a birth injury, or birth trauma context, as these are the types of cases that we handle, there is an allegation in many instances that the treating doctor fell below the standard of care causing the injury. The injury in this context can vary for a birth injury. For example, the injury can be HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, to a subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis, to some other type of brain injury.
These allegations will be proven through the help of medical experts. These experts will review all the evidence in the case and conclude as to standard of care, and causation. Other experts, such as vocational rehabilitation specialists, and economists might also be used to help round out the case.
HOW DOES THE JURY KNOW WHAT LAW TO USE?
All throughout the trial, the jury will be presented with evidence and testimony as to the issues in which the trial poses. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge will direct the jury as to the law to be used in the case. As the trial develops, certain issues of law will be revealed.
The attorneys for both sides will submit to the judge, jury instructions. These instructions will be an understanding of the law that the judge needs to explain to the jury. In some cases, each side will agree as the law to be given to the jury. In other cases, a discussion with the judge will have to take place to hash out the arguments for and against a certain instruction.
ONCE THE LAW IS GIVEN…
Once the law is given to the jury, they will then apply the law to the facts of the case. This means that they will review the evidence that is presented to them and conclude as to the ultimate issues in the case. For birth trauma cases it will be in many cases whether the treating doctor did in fact fall below the standard of care causing the injury.
Hopefully now you understand how does the jury know what law to use in a trial. No, they do not just make it up as they go along. The judge is there to direct them as to the law.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP