No one wants a trial. Well, that is to say: no one prefers to end up in front of a group of strangers sitting in a jury box. High stakes. All-or-nothing. Nerve wracking. And let us not consider the butterflies involved in sitting in that witness chair, under the lights, being cross-examined.
But Civil Jury trials are critical for the function of the Civil Justice System in the United States. No other country in the world grants its citizens the right to redress their civil conflicts before a jury of their peers. The system ensures that such disputes will be decided by the community, rather than a faceless system or exclusively by professionals who may lose perspective on life outside of the legal system.
It means that without the function of jury trials, many cases could not be resolved. It is incumbent upon parties to injury litigation to consider “settlement” because of the costs of litigating and trial as well as the likelihood that a verdict will be decided eventually. And only a small percentage of such injury cases in Cook County, Illinois actually conclude with a trial. But without that backstop–that looming reckoning–the motivation to take the case seriously is weakened.
The public health precautions surrounding COVID-19 halted trials at the Daley Center (where the bulk of injury trials take place in one of the largest unified civil justice systems in the world). Naturally, it was unsafe to have jurors gather in assembly rooms or jury boxes, to say nothing of the judges, staff, lawyers and witnesses.
Now, with infection rates dropping from the winter surge and vaccination proliferating, the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Judge Timothy Evans, has announced that injury jury trials will resume May 3, 2021 at the Daley Center.
Now, with the system prepared to handle jury trials again, the horizon is more hopeful for injured parties. Without the prospect of trials, insurance companies and corporations faced less pressure to engage in discovery or make serious offers to settle matters. That has changed. If you have experienced a serious injury and would like to consult with serious injury lawyers, please contact us here at Coogan Gallagher. We have weathered the COVID-19 pause and continue to represent our injured clients. We have taken this time to prepare their cases for future trials. Preparation is the only road to successful resolution. And our lawyers are committed to engaging in your case when you call.