I woke up in my Denver apartment on a typical Wednesday, and I was delighted to find a jury duty demand letter in the midst of my morning mail. I had never been called to jury duty before, but I heard that it was a long and drawn out process. I’m being sarcastic . . . I wasn’t excited. My jury duty experience was somewhat intriguing, however, because I watched the case and actually paid attention to what happened.
Emotions were high in the courtroom because the woman who filed the lawsuit suffered from a traumatic brain injury after a driver hit her while texting behind the wheel. She had hired the best personal injury lawyer in Denver to represent her because it was clear from her circumstances that she needed to obtain a large settlement.
The defendant, however, also hired an excellent defense lawyer who was trying to prove that his client wasn’t texting and driving. It came down to a ruthless fight between legal teams, and negligence was proven using concrete evidence. In the end, it was up to me (and the rest of the jury, of course) to come to a verdict.
How the Jury Decided
Being on a jury feels like such a burden. You have two people’s lives in your hands. I knew that this woman deserved compensation for the brain injury she suffered, so it wasn’t tough for me to vote in her favor, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty for the man who was about to spend the rest of his life in financial distress for the mistake he had made.
More than anything, I felt empathy for this man, because I knew he was feeling so much guilt. Many people text while driving and never think anything bad will come of it. Unfortunately, one text sent while behind the wheel can alter someone’s life forever. This is why it’s so important to stay aware when driving and put your phone away—not because of the financial consequences, but because you can injure or kill yourself or someone else.
My Final Thoughts
I wonder if the lawyers or other courtroom employees ever put themselves in the position of the jury. They never have to sit in our shoes and actually make the final decision on a case. I’m really glad that the case I sat in on wasn’t a murder trial or a situation where the verdict was harder to determine. I couldn’t live with myself if I had sent an innocent person to jail or let a guilty person go free.