Jury Instructions in Tennessee Injury Cases

At the end of every Tennessee injury trial heard by jury the judge gives the jury instructions about the law applicable to the case.  Some judges prepare their own instructions; other judges ask the lawyers involved in the case to prepare the instructions.  Even if the judge does his or her own instructions the lawyers have the right to propose additional or alternative instructions to the judge, who reviews the proposed  instructions and determines whether they will be included in the final set of jury instructions.

Jury instructions tell the jury the law applicable to the case.  The jury uses the instructions to guide it in finding the facts.  Jurors are the "judges" of the facts in a case, and then take those facts and apply it to the law given to them by the judge.

Sometimes judges make mistakes in jury instructions.  If a judge makes a mistake, an appeal may result.  A mistake in the jury instructions can result in a new trial if the appellate court determines that the mistake affected the outcome of the trial.

Jury instructions are an important part of the trial and it is important to have a lawyer that has a firm grasp of the law to help guide the judge to offer the right instructions to the jury.  Judges are human and have lots of responsibilities and sometimes need (and appreciate) a lawyer who can help them prepare jury instructions that accurately state the law applicable to the case. 

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