Verdict - Summer 2015 - (Page 37)

> NEW LAWYERS' CORNER Trying a Low-Damage Jury Case BY SCOTT HARRISON TRYING LOW-DAMAGE CASES can be must embrace the photos documenting the especially challenging. Insurance carriers case even if they don't show a lot of visible often view these claims as fraudulent simply property damage. The insurance industry because they are low-damage injury cases. will argue that serious injuries can't occur Moreover, most carriers have an in-house- in car collisions that don't result in a lot of counsel structure that makes the economics visible property damage. However, the reality of denying even the most meritorious small is that many people are injured in these types claims enticing for the carrier. In trying low- of collisions every day. Did your client try to damage cases before juries for a few years tough it out at home with aspirin and wait now, I have stepped in enough potholes that four weeks before seeking medical treatment I may be able to save you a few sprained after the incident? If so, you must embrace your narrative can you maintain your cred- ankles by sharing some of my mistakes and the gap in treatment and figure out how to ibility with the jury. lessons learned along the way. In this article, explain the reason for the lengthy delay. Of Protecting and elevating your credibility I outline four key strategies: (1) Embrace course, the insurance industry will try to claim with the jury is by far the most important your bad facts beyond change, (2) protect that a gap in treatment equates to a plaintiff aspect of the case. Even when jurors are and elevate your credibility, (3) polarize the who is faking and only went to the doctor annoyed to be serving jury duty, they tend to case whenever possible, and (4) neutralize because of an attorney referral. Do not try take this duty seriously and want to reach the the delay-deny-defend tactic of the insur- to brush off or ignore the things you wish you correct result. Jurors don't focus on objec- ance industry. could change about your case. Attempting tions and other legal maneuvering as much Embracing your bad facts beyond change to minimize a negative fact by ignoring it or as we lawyers think they do. Most jurors is the only way to tell the story of your case glossing it over is a recipe for disaster. Only understand and appreciate the nature of to the jury with sincerity and integrity. Bad by fully accepting the most challenging bad the adversarial system and expect all law- facts beyond change are all the things you facts beyond change can you truly neutralize yers to vigorously advocate for their clients. wish you could change about your case. them. Start preparing for your case by putting However, jurors will punish a lawyer they Unfortunately, we don't get to write our own on your insurance-attorney hat. Find the most deem to lack credibility. You can protect facts, so we must learn how to live with the problematic parts of the case by pretending and preserve your credibility by carefully bad facts beyond change. Is the case a min- you are playing insurance-industry smoke- deciding which arguments to make or aban- imal-property-damage car wreck? Does the and-mirrors games to destroy the case. Only don. Jurors want to trust that, even while back of your client's car look like it just rolled by fully embracing the bad facts beyond advocating for your client, you are telling off the showroom floor? In such cases, you change and coherently weaving them into them the whole story. Teach the jury your Summer 2015 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Verdict - Summer 2015

President’s Message
GTLA President’s Gala
Trying a Sex Abuse Case Against a Local Church in a Conservative Venue
New Strategies and Interventions to Curtail Discovery Abuses
High-Speed Police Chases and Injured Innocent Bystanders
When One Award is Not Enough
Three Strategies to Fend off a Funding Attack
Recent Updates to Georgia Suggested Pattern Jury Instructions (Civil), July 2013 – Present
The Hidden Predator Act: How House Bill 17 Will Impact Victims’ Rights in Georgia
New Lawyers’ Corner: Trying a Low-Damage Jury Case
Professional Practice Pointers: Updates on E-filing, the Court of Appeals, and a New Traffic Division in DeKalb State
Case Updates: What’s New?
Workers’ Comp Updates
Notes: What’s New with GTLA Members
Welcome New GTLA Members!
Index to Advertisers

Verdict - Summer 2015