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We see it all the time. A client is seriously injured in an automobile, motorcycle, truck, bicycle or other traffic accident. It isn’t their fault at all. They don’t think about getting a lawyer at first. They just focus on getting medical care. Then things get worse medically, and they reluctantly call us for an appointment. They never intended calling an attorney and feel a little embarrassed, even ashamed, to seek legal help. Then they are frustrated and angry because they come to the realization that they shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. After all, it wasn’t their fault. They have paid their insurance premiums for years, even decades, and followed the rules of the road. Then an insurance adjuster plays hardball, offering a pittance and levels accusations about the client, implying they are faking or exaggerating or that they had these injuries even before the accident! And we sue, with the full intent of disproving all the adjuster’s false contentions.
Finally, many months later, we reach the first day of trial. The jury seems more suspicious about our client than about the person who hurt them. They think something is fishy. After all, the jurors think, this seems pretty clearcut. Why hasn’t it settled out of court? It MUST be the injured person’s fault. They must be greedy. Or maybe worse! They must be frauds! They are faking, or they had this injury all along and are trying to fleece the poor person being sued. Or maybe they even staged the whole thing!
Well, we wonder what the jurors would think if they were told the whole story. They are NEVER told the whole story. For example, jurors are never told that the person being sued will never pay a dime. They are never told that a cranky old insurance adjuster is really the person with the beef and that the person being sued would really rather the adjuster have settled the case. Jurors never know what the insurance policy limits are. Jurors are never told how much the adjuster offered in settlement, how much our client asked for, or where negotiations stalled. Jurors are never told who was cited for a violation of traffic or other laws. It is against the rules of evidence for the jury to know who the police officers or investigators found to be at fault. There are many other examples of things the jurors will never hear and will never know. If they were told everything, would they be so suspicious of our client?
If a case seems open and shut and you wonder why it didn’t settle out of court, it is probably just as open and shut as it seems. Don’t be suspicious of the person bringing the lawsuit just because they brought it. Sometimes we think if jurors were told EVERYthing, they’d have less trouble doing the RIGHT thing.
Injured? Contact us for a free consultation about your legal rights.