It is becoming much more common for large corporations, insurance companies, and banks to require individuals and small businesses to waive their rights to a jury trial or agree to arbitration regarding any dispute that might arise out of a contract. It is important for individuals and small businesses to know the importance of a jury trial before agreeing to waive their rights. We are entitled to jury trials according to the Constitution.

Our courts have found that a waiver to a right to trial by jury must be strictly construed as the right is a substantial right. When the purported waiver exists in a contract signed prior to the contemplation of litigation, the party seeking to enforce it must demonstrate that the consent was both voluntary and informed. Our courts have consistently refused to enforce agreements that were obtained through fraud or misrepresentation. However, because these waivers are generally enforceable, subject to exception, you should consider speaking with an attorney before ever signing a document that purports to waive your right to trial by jury. Oftentimes, this provision is a red flag that many parts of the document are intended to be largely in favor of the drafter.

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