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Bench Trial or Jury Trial for a Medical Malpractice Case

Did you know that when you bring a medical malpractice lawsuit, you have the right to have your case heard by the judge, and render a decision by the judge, as opposed to having a jury rendered decision? Even when this is allowed, most injured victims in New York prefer to have their case heard by a jury.

When you ask a judge to hear your case, it is known as a bench trial, and you are presenting the same type of evidence and information to one person. The judge will make rulings of law, and will be responsible for rendering a decision about whether or not your case has merit, and if so how much compensation should be awarded to you.

Why Victims and Lawyers Usually Prefer Jury Trial

Why then many cases of accidents, medical malpractice, or wrongful death are not tried in front of the judge alone. There is a consensus throughout the legal community that people who are injured victims will probably get a better shot at justice by having a six-member jury, who will listen to their case and ultimately make a decision about whether or not the victim is entitled to compensation. However, it cannot be said for certain that better justice is always availed through a jury trial.

Nevertheless, many people and attorneys believe that since judges hear these cases all the time, and if you were to rely solely on a judge who has heard so many of these cases, he might be jaded. Therefore, you would not want such a person make that ultimate decision about how much compensation you should be awarded.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Therefore, majority of the injured victims who bring lawsuits in the state of New York, usually request their case be heard before a jury. The jury consists of six people of the community, who will listen to the evidence, and ultimately make a decision whether the plaintiff has proven the case, and if so how much compensation should be awarded to them. The jurors are not likely to be jaded or cynical about the system, since they do not listen to cases all the time. They will have a fresh perspective, and they are more likely to relate to what the victim is suffering.

The judge on the other hand would be handling many such cases every day, and his perspective could be dulled by the sheer repetition of victims and similarities between the cases. In such a condition, the judge will not be able to connect with suffering of the victim in the required manner, and therefore may not be able arrive at a reasonable compensation.

Hard to Please

However, juries could also be unpredictable, and it needs only one biased juror to ruin the case. Sometimes, juries are known to render decisions, which are not only unpredictable, but also unsupported by evidence presented at the trial. However, these are rare occurrences, whereas a judge is usually jaded, turned off, or unimpressed due to this workload. Therefore, when we consider the pros and cons of jury trial and bench trial, jury trial seems to be much more advantageous for obtaining justice and fair compensation.

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