- Richard L. Duquette
The Bicyclist Juror: "The Great Levelers" ©
Imagine opening your mail box one day and receiving a letter from the courthouse summonsing you to Jury Duty. Some might send in an objection to get out….whereas others will report at 8:00 a.m. to the court house Jury lounge to watch the introductory Juror movie…before getting sent out to a courtroom or home…(if not needed).
So, what does this have to do with bicyclist legal tips?
ANSWER: A lot.
Let me share what I see (as a bicycle injury victim’s advocate) and try to connect bicyclists’ needs to Jury duty. The conflict usually arises when I get a call from an injured bicyclist or triathlete. Either it’s a solid economical case or simply not that bad to warrant hiring a lawyer. (I’ll talk about that subject in more detail in another article.)
In any event, either I see low ball insurance offers (in many instances) for the injured or athletes trying to “go it alone”, in hopes of being treated fairly by the insurance company. In both cases, it’s the prospect of having to face a real live jury that provides the necessary “reality check” to the insurance company to promote an eventual settlement….in most cases.
Now, imagine if athletes across the USA, unanimously appeared for jury duty. There wouldn’t be enough juror “strikes” (usually 6 in California) by the insurance defense lawyer to stack the jury against the athlete with non-athletes. Instead, the injured athlete might get a jury foreperson that could go into deliberations and impress upon the other less active jurors the value of a loss of lifestyle, or damaged health. This perspective in the deliberation room will send a message into the community in the form of a fair jury, verdict that protects bicyclists, i.e.:
Bicyclists have rights.
Share the road with a bicyclist.
Fix pot holes in roads.
Construct bicycle lanes and paths for safety.
Athletic lifestyle matters, it’s not just a hobby.
Present and future health care costs should be paid in full to victims – not chipped away and discounted by the insurance defense lawyers.
Non-economic damages should be paid for …. i.e. scars, pain, suffering, distress, discomfort, anxiety, fear, change of lifestyle…. In order to acknowledge the “total persons” losses.
Promptly settle in big and small cases with or without a lawyer, or get hammered by a jury.
In conclusion, the best legal tip I can give a bicyclist or athlete is to get on a jury and express your views, to improve society. As athletes and jurors… you can bring a giant to justice…. Vote your values, as juror-athletes are the “Great Levelers”.
©Richard L. Duquette, Esq. All rights reserved 2017 – LEGAL ADVERTISING
www.911law.com * 760-730-0500 * Podcast: Bicycling and The Law 911law.com
The information in this article is for general information purposes only. The focus of this article is on California Law. You should contact an attorney in your state for case specific advice, as details of the law and procedural requirements vary from state to state. Nothing in this article should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship; and the receipt, reading, listening, or viewing of this content shall not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Nothing in this article shall be construed as a warrant, promise, or guarantee about the outcome of your case or any other matter. This information may contain personal impressions or statements of opinion on a subject that do not apply in your case. Further, statements of law reflect the current state of the law at the time of writing and/or recording, and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law.