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How do you pick a jury in a medical malpractice case?

In a D.C. medical malpractice case, where a patient is suing a hospital or physician who harmed her because of substandard medical care, choosing a jury is the first step of the trial.  The jury is usually 8 people who will listen to the testimony of expert witnesses and fact witnesses and review all of the exhibits or evidence submitted and decide the case.

Many lawyers say that juries are actually "de-selected," each side typically receives 3 peremptory strikes they can use to "de-select" potential jurors. Lawyers can use these for a variety of reasons, as long as they are not based on a protected class, such as race.  Strikes for cause may include potential jurors who cannot hear this particular case because they know the parties or lawyers, have an out of town trip scheduled, or have a bias or inclination to favor one side or the other.  Everyone has inclinations, opinions or strong feelings on certain subjects, so if a potential juror has these in a particular case, and it could affect how he or she views the case, they probably should not hear the case.

Typically the judge will conduct voir dire in the District of Columbia, a process of asking the jurors questions regarding their background, familiarity with the issues or parties, etc.  Most of the time, these questions will be answered privately, at the bench or in a separate room with only the lawyers and judge present.  Depending on the issues involved, jury selection in a medical malpractice case can last between a couple of hours to a full day.