Apr 5, 2024

How Do Voir Dire and Peremptory Strikes Play a Role in Jury Selection?

How Do Voir Dire and Peremptory Strikes Play a Role in Jury Selection - choosing jury

Accident victims stepping into the realm of personal injury law often face a barrier in the form of complex language, jargon, and phrases. Although complicated to the eye, this language is relatively straightforward.

Two of the many seemingly convoluted terms are “voir dire” and “peremptory strike.” The former outlines the process used to establish a fair jury, while the latter describes an action used to remove someone from the prospective jury without displaying cause.

Considering the importance of the jury process, the complex nature of this terminology can limit someone’s understanding of the “big picture” of their accident situation. This is the reason why personal injury attorneys are so crucial to your legal process, as their involvement simplifies the process and significantly improves your chances of success. 

Morgan and Morgan, America’s largest personal injury firm, can be your legal partner for no upfront cost. Complete our free, no-risk case evaluation to get started.


What Is Voir Dire in Personal Injury Law?

Voir dire, originally pronounced a “vwar-deer” in French, is the process legal teams use to establish a jury free of bias to comply with the 6th Amendment’s requirement of providing a “fair jury.” While complex initially, most people who have experienced jury duty or watch legal entertainment are familiar with this process.

Each side’s legal team poses questions to a jury, listens to their answers for potential bias, and removes them based on said bias. There are two main types of biases at play:

  • Explicit bias, where the person is aware of their prejudices, one-sided attitude, or preconceptions about a certain group, event, etc.
  • Implicit bias, where the person isn’t aware of their negative attitude or prejudice.

Each state may carry different limitations on what can and cannot be used as cause to remove a prospective juror from the pool. For example, some states may restrict persons who have had someone close to them murdered by a similar crime because they could carry an implicit bias. However, the juror must be removed “for cause” unless otherwise covered by another legal process.


What Is a Peremptory Strike?

If a lawyer suspects a prospective juror won’t treat their client fairly but they don’t carry enough bias to qualify for removal under voir dire, they may remove that juror from the pool without showing cause using a peremptory strike. Legal teams are able to use a certain number of these strikes per selection because it’s essentially a “free” juror strike.

If all peremptory strikes are used, lawyers must convince the judge to remove a juror for cause under traditional voir dire guidelines. Otherwise, that juror must remain in the pool.


How Often Are Peremptory Strikes Used in Personal Injury Lawsuits?

The number of available peremptory strikes varies from case to case, depending on the state’s civil guidelines. However, once all available peremptory strikes are used, the lawyer cannot gain another one and must convince the judge to remove jurors for a reason or “cause.”

Voir dire always applies, while peremptory strikes are optional actions. Legal teams may use all or none of their available peremptory strikes based on the specific needs of the case at hand.


Unfamiliar With the Language of Your Case? Contact Morgan and Morgan.

Personal injury claims become much easier to handle with the right legal team at your side. At Morgan and Morgan, we understand what it’s like to hire the wrong lawyer, so we’ve worked tirelessly over three decades to ensure that everyone can get the right one for their situation.

We’re here to help. With no upfront fee, no out-of-pocket costs, and a contingency where you only pay if you win, we offer an easy and cost-effective way to understand more about the rights that protect you. Complete our free, no-obligation case evaluation to take the first steps with our team.