My Personal Injury Case Is On For Trial… What Should I Expect?
What should you expect when your case is tried?
Clients ask me this question all the time. After they have been injured due to the negligence of others, they call me to review their case. After surviving motions for summary judgment, their case has been placed on the trial calendar. After years of depositions, signing authorizations, status phone calls with updates about their case, it is now time for the case to be tried. So what should they expect?
Here is the good news. There is at least a 66.6% chance that the client will recieve money. There are three things that usually happen in a trial. The case is won, lost or settled. In two out of three scenarios the client obtains compensation.
The amount of the compensation depends on the damages the client has sustained, the percentage of fault assigned to the defendant, the venue and the people on the jury.
I would like to take this time to discuss the last two factors: venue and the people on the jury (which can be the most important). The amount that a case is worth varies from venue to venue. Typically, jurisdictions in the outer boroughs of the City of New York, such as the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens garner higher payouts then suburbs such as Westchester County and Long Island.
But even in venues such as the Bronx or Brooklyn, the value of the case can be altered by the neighborhood and the people on the jury. For some reason, I have found (or assumed) that people who live in certain neighborhoods are called in for jury duty at the same time. Depending on the neighborhood, the composition of a person’s jury could range drastically. Certain neighborhoods are known to be more plaintiff friendly, and other seem to favor the defendant. The compensation of a typical jury can vary greatly. While one jury may award a person $40,000 for a severe life altering injury, another could award that same person $4 million. Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason for the difference in outcomes. It is just the composition of the jury.
That is why you need a skilled personal injury lawyer who has picked juries before and knows what to expect when in a courtroom.