Every week, I read ‘Trial Digest and Verdict Search’. They are publications thatoutline the results of recent civil cases that have been resolved in California Courts. It’s important for your lawyer to know how juries decided cases. Anything that will help tune up my skills is great. As a law firm, Nelson and Natale has been extremely successful in settling cases with low offers by the Insurance companies and moving them up to 6 and 7 figure verdicts and settlement awards, but there are always challenges along the way.
I recently read a case in the journal ‘Trial Reports’, where an MTA-bus was the defendant. In the case, one of the better law firms in California, who I happen to know after my 32 years in the business, handled the case for the plaintiff’s heirs. They settled it for just over $7 million dollars… It looks like a great settlement to me based on what I read in the brief. It was a terrible accident. A bus ran through a crosswalk and collided and killed a pedestrian mother of 2 minor children. The settlement was probably appropriate since the alternative encompasses a risk and you never know how a jury will decide on a case. In this matter, anything over $5 million would be reasonable depending on the income level of the deceased which is always a part of the formula. The money would be put in a trust for the children. All we can do as attorneys is recover money. It’s all that a civil court can give you. In this case, sometimes only a jury can decide the value.
There’s also another case in the ‘jury sheets’ where a female plaintiff was struck and killed in a San Francisco crosswalk. In that case, the jury came back with nothing for the deceased. It’s really hard to criticize and comment on a case when we don’t have all the facts, obviously I can’t ask any question of a written ‘synopsis. For example, if I could, I would ask questions about the police report, witnesses, and the facts of the accident. None of this of course is mentioned in the sketchy brief. I have to speculate and improvise. First, it’s very likely that the plaintiff’s attorney is not used to handling trials or for that matter, maybe he/she is not a very good trial lawyer. Being a good lawyer only comes with talent and experience. The majority of lawyers should not be handling trials. Injuries in pedestrian crosswalks resulting in death seem to be a winner all the way around. However, to lose at trial raises a red flag. There has to be some element missing that the attorney didn’t address. Apparently, the plaintiff’s attorney did not make a case that appealed to the jury. Bottom line, the jury chose not to give any money to the deceased….I had the very fortunate experience back some 35 years ago when I was going to law school to be a juror on a criminal case. Juries think just like you and I think about these cases. They want to give money to the injured or deceased client. However, the case had some flaws. It could be that the attorney is plain lousy and he/she just couldn’t win over the jury. Could it be that the plaintiff was in the wrong? How did the defendant depict the accident? What did the police report say? These are all factors that we must consider in our evaluation of a case. It controls our method of handling it. At our law firm, Nelson and Natale, this is what we do; day in and day out for over 32 years.
If you’re a plaintiff, pick a law firm that has a long history of success in personal injury. We know those cases – if it is personal injury, give me a call at (310) 641 – 8300. I’ve actually reviewed thousands of cases for our firm as well as for other lawyers. We already know your case, and we know how to successfully handle it. We’re skilled at picking juries and trying lawsuits. Go with someone who specializes and has 32 years of experience in personal injury. It’s your case, make the risk as small as you can. As the saying goes “YOU CAN ONLY BE A WINNER BY CHOOSING A WINNER”.