Although dates and COVID-19 precautions vary by county, California courts generally expect to resume civil jury trials in the summer of 2021. For many cases, socially distanced jury selection is already underway. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing public health crisis, and the courts’ estimates for opening are subject to change and updated regularly.
When the courts do open, they will prioritize civil hearings for emergency matters, as well as cases filed and scheduled before March 17, 2020. In an effort to mitigate the backlog of civil proceedings, many counties are holding court trials and other appearances via Zoom and CourtCall.
Many courts first closed on March 17, 2020, shortly after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic. Although some courts resumed limited in-person services, most were unable to conduct jury trials in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On December 7, 2020, 10 months into the pandemic, the Chief Justice of California advised all courts to prioritize health and safety statewide. Of course, each county court has its own rules and regulations.
For coronavirus-related court announcements and court-specific updates, you can visit the Consumer Attorneys of California website or check out the information provided by the California Lawyers Association. Both sources provide links to each county’s Superior Court website, where you can find more detailed information and the most recent updates.
Even as the vaccine rolls out and courts begin to open, jury trials have become more difficult. According to NBC Los Angeles, fewer people are responding to jury duty summonses, some citing anxiety about COVID-19. Diversity has also been a concern, as the COVID-19 pandemic has had a more severe effect on people of color, so the juries that do form may not represent a fair cross-section of the community.
Even trials that happen during the pandemic can be interrupted by a positive COVID-19 test or upper respiratory symptoms. In Indiana and Missouri, jury trials are already underway, and COVID-19 has caused multiple mistrials.
Until people are ready and willing to show up in court and sit through jury trials, this type of legal proceeding is unlikely to occur. Courts are focusing on criminal jury trials to prevent defendants awaiting their day in court while stuck in virus-packed jails, but the need for civil trials is much less pressing.
Resolving Your Case
Fortunately, many civil cases – particularly personal injury cases – do not need to go to trial. You can still file a lawsuit against someone who wronged you and recover the compensation you deserve via settlement negotiations.
At YD Injury Law, we can help you resolve your case in or outside of the courtroom. If pursuing a settlement is your priority during this uncertain time, we will fight to make it happen.
We’ve recovered over $45 million for injured clients, and we can help you, too.
Call us at (619) 566-1381 or contact us online to get started with a free consultation – we are available 24/7 to take your call.