Your Personal Injury Lawyer Should Be a Trial Lawyer
In America we resolve our personal injury disputes—car accidents,trucking accidents, wrongful death, etc—through the jury trial system. Although many litigants, including most Traywick & Traywick clients, prefer to settle their cases, the job of the lawyer is to get the case ready for trial: plain and simple. That is what we do: get cases ready for trial, and then try them to a jury of our peers if necessary.
Happily, the practical reality of it is that by always preparing for trial, by keeping his eyes focused on how to win at trial, your lawyer is creating leverage in settlement negotiations. Here is why: Insurance companies decide how much to pay on a claim based on how much a jury is projected to give the plaintiff at trial. So, when new TLO clients have come to us saying, “We get the feeling that our old lawyer just wanted a quick settlement”, we think to ourselves: this is one smart client. Experience in this business teaches that lawyers who know how take a case to trial, who focus on winning at trial, put more pressure on insurance companies, which tends to lead to better outcomes for clients. It is counter-intuitive, but entirely true: a laser-like focus on trial is how you get a case settled.
For this reason, a lawyer who focuses on settlement from the get-go is frequently doing the client a disservice; the insurance company will see a soft target who is likely to settle for less than full value, even if the insurer drags the claim out for two or three years. You want your lawyer to send the message to the insurer that we’re going to war, that we’ll do whatever it takes to get a complete recovery for these injuries. Frankly, this tough approach is the only way to get the insurance company’s attention: there is nothing the insurance industry hates worse than a trial. A trial is very expensive, and is fraught with uncertainty- two things the insurance industry despise above all else.
For those who mistrust the jury system, let us reassure you: it is an imperfect but nevertheless very, very good system. It is true that every trial lawyer feels that he or she has lost some cases which he or she should have won, and vice versa. But upon reflection most trial lawyers recognize the reason that a jury decided as it did, and the reason usually makes sense. In our experience, the formula for a great outcome at trial is simple: a nice client, a good case, real injuries and a super-hardworking lawyer. If you have those ingredients, and if lawyer and client truly believe the story they tell the jury, good things usually happen.
So our message on jury trials is straightforward: don’t believe the hype. Juries are rational actors who make decisions which, on balance, make a lot of sense. Just make sure that the lawyer you go into court with on your personal injury or wrongful death claims has experience and talent, and is committed to doing whatever it takes to help the client.Traywick & Traywick attorneys meet these criteria; one of our lawyers, David Traywick or Ben Traywick, is happy to discuss your case with you at any time, without cost to you for the consultation.