What Is The 7th Amendment?
“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”
Essentially, the 7th Amendment states if you are suing someone in court, you have the right to a trial by jury. In order to have a trial heard by a jury, you must be seeking compensation for your loss at a value of more than $20.
Many TV shows and movies show the 7th Amendment in action with dramatic pictures of juries deciding on significant non-criminal disputes all the time. However, this is far from reality. Juries decide on less than one percent of civil cases that are filed in court. This number may seem low, but the U.S. Supreme Court does not require states to protect a person’s 7th Amendment right. Making the 7th Amendment applicable in federal courts.
When does the 7th amendment apply?
Certain criteria must be met in order for you to be able to have a trial heard by a jury:
- The claim must be a civil claim. A civil claim occurs when you sue someone for monetary compensation.
- The lawsuit must be more than $20. While today, most controversies exceed the twenty-dollar amount; it was a decent amount of money when the law was first written into the Constitution and is still the threshold used to resolve if a trial by jury is permissible.
- The claim must be in a federal court and based on federal law. Surprisingly enough, the 7th Amendment does not apply in state courts, though some courts have implemented the right to a jury in civil cases.
- The lawsuit must be a case that would have been accepted by the English common law of 1791. Common law cases happen when monetary compensation is being sought for a loss. If the English common law of 1791 would not have allowed a jury trial, it cannot go to trial by jury today under the Constitution.
Why the 7th Amendment Matters To You
If you have a civil claim such as a personal injury lawsuit and are suing a person or business in court, you might not want a judge to be the sole decision maker for your case. This can be especially true in high stakes cases such as wrongful death lawsuits or accidents with catastrophic injuries that involve large sums of medical bills and other expenses.
You have the right to have your trial heard by several more people who make up a jury. An important aspect of the 7th Amendment is that it prohibits any judge from overruling a jury’s decision, unless there’s a violation of common law at hand. So, in most cases, a jury’s ruling is final.
Protect/Use Your Seventh Amendment Right
If you are seeking compensation for a loss and would like to exercise your 7th Amendment, and want to have a trial heard by a jury, contact personal injury attorneys at Liggett Law Group for a free consultation today. We will advocate for your civil case and will help get the compensation you deserve. Consultations are free and there is no obligation.