Not All Trials Are the Same: Learn the Difference Between a Jury Trial and a Bench Trial

If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are considering suing the responsible party, you might be asking about the advantages and disadvantages of going to trial vs settling. The correct response to these and other inquiries will be very dependent on the details of your situation. You could also question what the difference is between a bench trial and a jury trial if the case goes to trial.

Continue reading to find out the answer to that question, and then call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 if you have any further concerns.

The consequences of a jury trial

In a jury trial, you will face a jury of anywhere from six to twelve individuals (depending on the facts of your case), who will make the final decision after hearing all of the evidence given by your personal injury attorney and the defendant’s attorney. The judge will be present, but merely to oversee the presenting of evidence, make decisions on any legal problems that emerge during the trial, and give jury instructions. Whose version of the story to trust will be decided by the jury.

Bench trials: What you need to know

After hearing all of the evidence in the case, a judge makes the ultimate decision in a bench trial. The judge who presides over the trial is almost always the same judge who was assigned the case when it was filed. A bench trial is decided by the “vote” of only one person: the judge, who, in comparison to the ordinary jury member, has a far superior grasp of the law.

Basic bench and jury trial statistics

Consider that, according to research by the United States Bureau of Justice, jurors determine around 70% of civil trials. Approximately 66 percent of bench trials and 53 percent of jury trials are won by plaintiffs. A jury trial lasts around two days longer on average than a bench trial. Surprisingly, the average damages granted in both types of trials were quite equal, according to the report.

You may not always be able to choose the type of trial you will face

Many individuals are aware that the United States Constitution’s Seventh Amendment guarantees a person’s right to a jury trial in civil cases involving money. However, the provision only applies to federal courts, so you may or may not be able to use it. In California, you can usually choose between a jury or a bench trial. Your personal injury lawyer will assist you in determining the best course of action for your case. For a free legal consultation with an expert attorney, call The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 right now.