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Can Juror #3 Ask a Medical Expert a Question During Your Medical Malpractice Trial?

You've sued your doctor.
For medical malpractice.
You believe he caused you permanent harm and injury.

Your doctor denies he did anything wrong.
Your doctor says you contributed to your own injuries.
He also says your injuries are not as bad as you claim.

The defense refuses to negotiate.
They refuse to settle.
"We'll see you in court," the defense lawyer says.

Two years later, your case finally comes up for trial.
There are six members of the community who are sitting in judgment on your case.
They will decide if your doctor was careless.

They will decide if his carelessness caused you harm.
They will also decide how much money you receive as compensation for your injuries.
You're in the middle of trial.

Your lawyer has called your medical expert to testify.
He confirms that your doctor was negligent and violated the basic standards of care.
He confirms that your doctor's wrongdoing was a cause of your injury.

He also confirms that your injuries are permanent.
During questioning, juror #3 has a question.
She doesn't understand something your expert has said.

She raises her hand and says "Excuse me doctor! I have a question I need to ask you..."

The judge is astonished.
Your attorney is surprised.
The defense lawyer is shocked.

Jurors just don't burst out in the middle of testimony to ask a witness questions.
It's just not done.
And if it is done, it's not done THAT way.

Most judges will NOT allow a juror to ask witnesses questions.
Of those that do, there is a specific procedure the judge will require to ask a question.
Usually, if a juror has a question for a witness, the judge will instruct the juror to write the question down.

He will tell the jury do NOT interrupt the questioning by the attorneys.
After the attorney has finished questioning the witness, the Judge will ask the jurors if they have any questions.
If they do, he will ask to see the written questions.

The judge will read the questions and decide if it is appropriate to ask.
If it is a proper question, the judge will then ask the witness the question.
If it's not an appropriate question, the judge will tell the juror that''s it's not an appropriate question.

Can a juror ask more than one question?

Of course.
But the same procedure is followed each time.
(1) Write the question down,
(2) Give it to the judge when the attorney is done questioning the witness
(3) If appropriate, the judge will ask the witness the question.

The judge will often ask the juror directly whether that answer satisfies the question they had.
If the answer is yes, that's it and the case moves on.
If the answer is no, the judge might have the witness explain his answer further.

To learn more about jurors asking witness questions during trial, I invite you to watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer