It should come as no surprise that a lot of DC personal injury cases involve the deliberations of a jury. But have you ever wondered how jurors know what to do throughout court proceedings? What you may not know is that in every case that involves a jury, the judge will issue a set of rules and guidelines to the jurors called the jury instruction. The jury instruction is there to help the jurors move through the trial and later deliberations with the most knowledgeable understanding of the law. In this way, the hope is that each juror can make an impartial decision at the end of the trial.
Take a look at this jury instruction from a Washington D.C.injury case on the definition of a contract.
Contract–Defined (D.C. Std. Civ. Jury Instr. No. 11-1)
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties to do or not do something.
What does it mean?
Although a jury instruction is intended to simplify and clarify the proceedings of the court, they can often seem vague, which can be confusing. For the large majority of Americans who did not go to law school, a jury instruction can add more confusion. Don’t worry we get it.
Let’s break this jury instruction down.
The contract definition is a more simple instruction in the DC injury case. Its purpose is to clarify what exactly a contract is.
Why is it important?
Often, the definition of a contract can seem ambiguous. Most people typically imagine something written and signed. However, verbal contracts are just as valid as written ones (though they are are harder to prove).
Having a clear definition of what a contract entails is important because it enables jurors to have a clear understanding of what qualifies as a contract. This definition, for example, does not exclude verbal contracts as a form of contract. It simply explains that any — mutual — agreement between two or more parties to do or not to do something.
However, a good thing to remember is that often people can change their minds about a contract. A well-written or thought-of contract will have some sort of instruction of what to do in a time of disagreement, especially in DC injury cases.
For this reason, if you ever want to make sure your agreement is upheld, it it is in your best interest to create a contract and have it be signed by all parties involved. This allows for the agreement to be enforced in courts.
What happens if someone breaks a contract?
As stated before, a good contract will have a stipulation of what happens if someone breaks the contract. If not, most people will typically turn to the courts to settle the disagreement.
What are some examples of contracts?
You can have a contract for practically anything you choose to agree upon with another party, especially within the context of personal injury cases. The examples are endless. That being said, here are a couple of the most common types of contracts that may help you understand.
Prenuptial Agreement: We’ve heard this one talked about time and time again. You may recognize it as a “prenup.” Though not directly related to a DC personal injury case contract, it does provide a good layout for what contracts are like. After all, a prenuptial agreement is one of the many types of contracts that people can have. This type of agreement is one that is signed and agreed upon before marriage between partners, which typically involves finances.
Work Contract: A lot of workplaces also require the signing of a contract. This usually involves how long you must give notice before leaving, how much pay you will receive, and whatever else may be relevant to the profession that is hiring.
Medical Contract: If you have been to the doctor and undergone anything remotely serious, you have definitely signed your fair share of medical contracts. A lot of them generally involve the patient agreeing to the risks of a medical procedure (hospitals and doctors offices do this in an attempt to avoid lawsuits down the line).
Lastly, if any disagreement of a contract comes up in court, remember, the contract initially had to be formed with both parties consent.
Please do not rely on any above statements as legal advice. You should always seek the advice of a licensed lawyer in order to assist you.