Damages by David Ball, Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote that we would be buying David Ball’s 3rd edition of “Damages.” Little did I know we had already ordered the book. I am going to write about things in this book that grab me, in no particular order at this point.

Ball writes: “Among the hollowest of advocacy moments can be when counsel says, in opening, that his client has lost one of her great pleasures – say, gardening.scales

This got my attention quick. I don’t think I have done this. I know I have. Right down to the example: gardening.

Ball’s point is that just throwing out boiler plate suffering like loss of “gardening” without human context, can come off as hypocritical and will “turn even the friendliest of jurors into enemies.” You have to find out exactly what they are talking about when they say they “miss gardening” and you have to make sure you understand – really understand – what the client was doing and why the loss of it is a real absence in their lives.

This strikes a cord with me for another reason, too. I don’t think you should try a case that you don’t believe in with all of your heart. I didn’t always feel that way. But you throw out trite losses like “gardening” that lack any coloration, it is, to use the poker parlance, a tell to the jury that you are not all the way in the case. You can fix that one by following David Ball’s advice here but there are going to be other “tells” along the way that you really don’t believe in your case. To be the best personal injury lawyer (talk about trite, sorry) you can be, you have to truly believe in the client and the depth of the client’s loss as a result of their injuries from the defendant’s negligence.

If you are reading along at home, this is on page 186, Section 6-10 of Ball’s book.

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