Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jury Trials

Clients often ask "Isn't it true that 95% of cases settle without trial?"  My response is to point out that I can settle their case immediately with a phone call giving up their claim.  The true variable is not whether your case settled but how quickly and whether the client has received the maximum compensation for their losses.

I just finished my 5th jury trial in 2010, a large number in a year.  In each instance, the decision was made by the client after discussing the uncertainties in their case and the amounts being offered.  In some instances, the jury verdict was less than was offered.  In others, it was larger.

This uncertainty highlights the need to play the card hand that is the case smartly.  I tell clients that, so long as they have thought the issues and made the decision to go to trial, they should never look back.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election debate and Tort Reform

It is election week and there is suddenly discussion about "Tort Reform."  Businesses seeking to lower costs argue that there would somehow be more jobs if accident victims were somehow prevented from filing lawsuits or limited in their right to recover compensation for their losses. 

While I have yet to see one job "made possible through Tort Reform," I have had a number of clients who agree in general terms with these arguments only to find themselves accident victims. When I explain why Tort Reform statutes eliminated their right to recover from a negligent party because of "immunity,"  why those same statutes require the accident victim to shoulder the risk of a lawsuit only to be required to repay workers compensation or health insurance benefits, and why those same Tort Reform laws impose the risks of clients having to pay attorney fees even if they "win" their case, a common response is that this protection of wrongdoers only encourages future misconduct. 

They are right.  However, the Tort Reform laws remain.  That is why every accident victim must remember to play their hand smartly.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tragedy of A Client's Death

     A client died in an unfortunate accident.  His death has 2 consequences for me.  On a personal level, as his lawyer, I had come to know the most private details of his life.  He was a young man with much potential and his death is a great loss to both his family and to all of us.
     As a lawyer, I have a duty to advise his family as to how death affects an ongoing case.  The case now belongs to his estate and is called a "survivorship claim."  While his estate will have the ability to continue to pursue his claim, his death means that his claim for future losses has been limited by his death.
    Even in tragic and sad times, we are required to play our hand to the best of our ability.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Doesn't Hurt to Ask

I just met with a nurse injured while working because of a poorly maintained piece of equipment.  While I do not represent clients in workers' compensation matters, I was able to identify a potential third party claim which would both fully compensate the accident victim and repay the workers' compensation insurer.  It never hurts to ask. You have to play your hand smartly.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/

Monday, September 27, 2010

Persistence pays

Being the victims of another's wrongful conduct, clients regularly are frustrated about why their cases are not resolved promptly.  The short answer is because a lawyer is necessary to make insurers and others do what they do not want to do, i.e., pay what they owe.  I recently had the experience of collecting a debt in a small case.  An abusive boyfriend was unwilling to pay for a vehicle he had "taken" from a client and we were forced to file a lawsuit, obtain a judgment, and collect on the judgment.  It has taken 13 months but every cent has been paid.  Persistence pays.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is the insurance adjuster the true ambulance chaser?

Met a young man yesterday paralyzed below the waist who was visited in the hospital by an insurance representative who then had a lawyer draft some "documents to take care of medical bills."   The young man lost his legal rights partly due to the ambulance chasing insurance adjuster and partly out of ignorance.  To this day, the young man is not able to describe the documents he signed.
It is always in the interest of an accident victim to consult a lawyer and make certain he understands his legal rights.  At the same time, the motives of anyone who asks that you sign something in the midst of a crisis is suspect.  You get one chance to play the card hand of life and want to do it well.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why are the jurors most similar to the client the least sympathetic?

   At a recent seminar, the presenter shared the surprising information (backed by studies) that the jurors most difficult to persuade are the jurors that have the most in common with the accident victim.  While one would think these jurors would be the most supportive, the reasoning is that they need to find fault with the client in order to convince themselves that these jurors would not experience a similar tragedy.

   Examples of this bias include:

    Homemakers acting as jurors for stay-at-home mothers.
    Persons with back injuries acting as jurors in a back injury case.
    Motor vehicle accident victims acting as jurors in motor vehicle accident cases.

Of course, there are exceptions to every Rule but the lesson is to be careful and to not assume that a juror with a similar background is the best juror in your case.

   Always play your hand smartly.  See http://www.junelawyer.com/

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Welcome to My Blog


    There are so many legal blogs that discuss the complexities of the legal issues.  This blog is dedicated to the pragmatic, nuts and bolts, experiences of being an accident victim with a personal injury claim to assist in playing your hand smartly and deciding what is best for you.