Is It Possible to Get Out of Jury Duty in Chicago?

Unfortunately, jury duty can interfere with our daily lives and work schedules. However, jury duty is a fact of life. Most people summoned to jury duty in Chicago are required to appear and serve on a jury if they are selected.

However, some individuals can get out of jury duty in Chicago because of exemptions or exceptions. In some cases, it might be possible to reschedule jury duty to another week.

How Are Individuals Selected for Jury Duty in Chicago?

Some people believe they will not be chosen for jury duty if they do not vote. However, this assumption is a myth. You do not need to be a registered voter to be called for jury duty in Illinois. 

Illinois law requires each county to compile a list of eligible jurors. Individuals included on the list of potential jurors include individuals who:

  • Are registered voters
  • Have an Illinois Driver’s License
  • Have an Illinois Identification Card
  • Receive unemployment benefits
  • Have an Illinois Person with a Disability Identification Card

All eligible citizens can be called for jury service once every twelve months. The selection process is random.

However, being summoned for jury duty does not mean you will serve on a jury. You must meet the qualification to serve on a jury and then be selected to serve on a specific jury.

What Are the Illinois Qualifications for Serving on a Jury?

Before you can serve on a jury, the court determines that you meet the qualifications for jury service. To be a juror in Illinois, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • At least 18 years old or older
  • A resident of the county where the court is held
  • Able to write, read, and understand the English language

There is no education requirement to serve on a jury. Furthermore, the law prohibits excluding a person qualified to serve on a jury based on that person’s color, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or economic status. 

Employers are prohibited from threatening to fire or firing an employee for serving on a jury. Furthermore, employers cannot intimidate or punish employees for serving on a jury.

Are There Exemptions to Serving on a Jury in Chicago?

The court might excuse you from serving on a jury in some situations. Some valid reasons for being excused from jury service include, but are not limited to:

  • You have no one to take care of your children.
  • Serving on a jury could be hazardous to your health because of a medical condition. 
  • You are the primary caretaker of another person.
  • Serving on a jury will cause extreme financial hardship.
  • You are an active member of the military.
  • You reside in a nursing home or institution. 

Individuals who are 70 years or older can opt out of jury service or transfer to another court location. If you are 70 years old or older, you must contact the court before your scheduled jury service to opt out or request a transfer. 

You must contact the court to be excused from jury duty. The court may ask you to provide documentation to support your request to be excused.

If you cannot be excused from jury duty, you might be able to reschedule your service date. Jury service could be extended for 11 or 22 weeks, depending on the circumstances. Reasons to request an extension include being a seasonal worker or having a paid, scheduled vacation. 

What Happens if I Don’t Show Up for Jury Duty in Chicago?

A jury summons is a court order to appear for jury service. If you do not receive an exception or an extension and fail to appear, you could be held in contempt of court.

Failing to appear for jury duty could result in one or more penalties. Typically, the court issues a fine for ignoring jury duty. However, the judge could hold a person in contempt of court for failing to appear and issue a bench warrant for their arrest.

What Does a Jury Decide in a Chicago Personal Injury Case?

Most personal injury claims settle without going to trial. The insurance company for the at-fault party pays the victim damages. However, cases that do not settle may go to trial.

At trial, the injured party (the plaintiff) presents evidence proving that the at-fault party (the defendant) caused their injuries. The defendant can refute the allegations by presenting evidence at trial.

The jurors must decide if the plaintiff proved that the defendant caused their injuries by a preponderance of the evidence. That means the jurors find that the evidence proves there is more than a 50% chance the defendant is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.

If the jurors find in favor of the plaintiff, they also decide on an amount for damages. The damages compensate the plaintiff for their financial losses, pain, and suffering. 

If you have questions about a personal injury claim, you can get advice from a Chicago personal injury lawyer during a free consultation. 

Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Chicago, Illinois, and need legal help, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Cook County and its surrounding areas:

Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
134 N La Salle St #2160
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (312) 929-2884