Leesburg-Villages car accident lawyer, Guy S. DiMartino, talks about going to trial in your Florida car accident case.
It happens all the time, a client gets an offer from the insurance company and they are mad about the offer and want to go to trial. One of the ways Florida lawyers keep up on the law and what is going on in the courtroom is reading cases and analyzing the facts and rulings in these cases. I do not know if it what is going on with the economy or propaganda in the news but Florida juries have been pretty hard on car accident victims the last couple of years. I know that I have talked about it frequently but these cases simply turn on the credibility of the client here and here.
New Car Accident Trial Reported
A new case published on March 27, 2013, shows the theme and what injured people and their lawyers have to look at before going into the courtroom. First the facts, a guy is injured in a car accident undergoes neck surgery and knee surgery. With this medical care I can tell you that his medical bills were over $100,000. The jury awarded $37,000 for past medical expenses and ZERO for pain and suffering. Why so a low verdict? I can tell you that based on the appellate court's opinion – the JURY DID NOT BELIEVE THE INJURED PERSON.
What can we learn from this case?
What we learn from this case is what I have learned from all my trials – juries will compensate jury victims if they like them, believe them, and find them credible. A jury trial is only about credibility and if something puts the injured person's credibility at issue – the case is over.
Let's see what was said regarding the knee injury
- A doctor testified that the knee jury was related to the car accident. The doctor also testified that his opinion was based partially on the history provided by his patient. This is where the defense went to work underlying the credibility of the patient (the injured plaintiff). The case report noted that the RECORD SHOWED INCONSISTENCIES “that would the accuracy of the history into doubt.”
- The Dr. testified that the patient told him he was thrown around inside the vehicle during the accident and that he hit a window and door. At trial, the patient testified that he did not remember striking anything in the vehicle because he was unconscious at the time.
- Regarding loss of consciousness: the medical records of two doctors said the patient DID NOT lose consciousness. One medical record said that he did lose consciousness.
- The Dr. testified that the patient told him he had IMMEDIATE KNEE PAIN and had constant knee pain for eight months. The patient testified that he had pain in his knees and bleeding immediately. On cross examination, he admitted that he saw a chiropractor days after the accident and did not go to the emergency room. Also, an eyewitness testified that he did not observe any injuries at the scene of the accident.
- A juror picked up on this and asked a question – “why didn't you go to the emergency room on Saturday, instead of the chiropractor? The patient responded – “I don't know. Something that happens and it's hard for you to analyze so quickly.”
- The patient testified that he would have told his doctors if he was experiencing any pain, but his medical records did not document consistent knee pain. Especially, when the patient first saw a doctor, he did not report knee pain.
- Finally, the patient was also inconsistent regarding how the knee injury impacted his work. He said the knee injury impacted his work and he didn't have as many clients because of his injury.This was inconsistent with his prior testimony that the number of his clients increased after the crash.
So in my estimation, the jury did not award the injury victim adequate money in this case because they simply DID NOT BELIEVE HIM. These cases are all about credibility. Before you decide to take your car accident case to trial, you need to spend time with your lawyer and go over every medical record. Know that if there are holes in your story and the medical records are inconsistent, it will have a tough time with juries in 2013.
If you have any questions about a potential Florida car accident claim, you can call me directly on my cell phone at (352) 267-9168 or fill out the internet consultation form on the right hand side of the screen.
photo attributions:trust from profalbrecht – credibility from turnermagic