Maybe it’s just as well. You only get paid $40 a day. And after the judge explained the facts of the civil case in question, I was already thinking it sounded way too complicated:
A young woman and her pre-teen daughter were going down I-75 in a minivan when some jerk in a pickup forced her off to the shoulder; she over-corrected and the van crossed traffic to collide with the guardrail. The two were unhurt and the pickup driver never bothered to stop. But then a semi came up and rear-ended the van, injuring both the woman and the little girl. She was seeking around $200k for medical bills and whatnot.
The only thing I could think of was the asshole in the pickup — surely the proximate cause of the accident. He was caught and charged. But I don’t suppose this was a guy who could cover the registration on his truck, much less come up with 200 large. So the woman’s attorneys were suing the trucking company instead. I counted all the attorneys in the room, did some division, and figured that in the best-case scenario, the woman and her daughter might walk out of there with the cost of a used minivan.
The judge said the trial might last six days, during which I’d undoubtedly learn much more about the case than I would ever want to know. I was glad when I was among the dozen or so dismissed. But then, walking back to the parking garage, I was a little disappointed too.
All the injustice in the world, and you almost never get a say in sorting it out. I think I could have judged the facts fairly. And driving home, I was surprised to realize that I wanted to. I had stopped thinking about my personal inconvenience, and started thinking about the story.
Lesson learned. I’m still on call for the next three weeks, so maybe another case — another story — will come my way. I still kind of hope it doesn’t, since I’m not really a morning person. But now I also kind of hope it does.