Sometimes, I think personal injury lawyers – myself included – subconsciously tend to think we know better than the client in terms of what damages they have that really matter to a jury. But we often get it wrong. More often than not, what is in the client’s heart is also going to be what has the most impact on a jury. Paul Luvera offers a tip that he picked up in Paris of all places on how to get clients to open up about what their real injuries are and how to present those injuries to a jury.
Early in my career as a plaintiffs’ lawyer, we tried a case where I spent a great deal of time preparing the witness to testify. Literally 20 minutes before she testified, she told me in a whisper what really bugged her about her injuries. She had lots of nieces and she went from being the fun aunt to the aunt who always complained of being in pain. That translates okay in this blog post. But you had to be there and you had to listen to the way she told the story. It took me two seconds to realize it was very real to her. I brought out the story on direct and it became one of the themes of our case and one of the reasons, the jury told me later, they arrived at the verdict they did.
Every professional thinks they know what is best for their clients and they are often right and the client is dead wrong. An exception to that rule is pain and suffering damages where the client typically knows in their heart exactly what damages matter the most. This post from Paul Luvera gives trial lawyers another method in getting to that sometimes elusive “what really matters.”