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Trial by jury or trial by judge? Who decides?



When you suffer an injury as a result of someone else's wrongdoing here in New York, you have an absolute right to have your case heard by the members of your community. This is known as a trial by jury.

As an alternative, there may be an instance where you would prefer to have your case heard only by a judge.

In medical malpractice cases here in New York as well as accident cases and wrongful death cases, virtually all of these cases involve trial by jury. It is very rare for an injured victim to proceed to trial to be heard only by a judge.

The common thinking is that a judge may be jaded by all of his years of experience on the bench and may not be sympathetic to an injured victim. However, this is a broad overgeneralization and does not apply in every instance. In fact,  In some cases, an injured victim may have no choice but to try their case in front of a judge only.

In state court, an injured victim has the right to choose whether he wants a jury trial or a judge trial. If an injured victim does not exercise his right to choose one or the other, the defense will then have the opportunity to make the choice for him.