Coping with Case Weaknesses: Plaintiff Credibility and Defendant Likability
Many times in personal injury cases, liability largely hinges on the credibility of the plaintiff. It essentially boils down to whether the jury believes the defendant or you. In all kinds of personal injury cases, including pedestrian injuries, product liability, medical malpractice, auto collisions and the like, it’s not unheard of for defendants to lie to their insurance carriers. This can give jurors the impression that you, the plaintiff, are not credible.
The right Jacksonville personal injury law firm will take steps to counteract a defendant’s lies. Physical evidence, including photos that demonstrate the extent of the damage and tire marks, can help bolster your credibility. Also, witnesses who have heard inconsistent statements from the plaintiff can come in handy under such circumstances.
If your Jacksonville personal injury lawyer is able to obtain a settlement, the defendant remains a nameless, faceless entity. At trial, though, that’s a whole other story. Suddenly, the defendant isn’t some huge, impersonal insurance company; it’s a living, breathing person. If the person is likable, he or she may elicit empathy from jurors, causing them to compromise on damages, liability or both.
With the exception of cases against uninsured motorists, evidence of insurance coverage is not typically allowed in personal injury trials. As a result, jurors may come away with the impression that damages will be paid directly out of the defendant’s pocket. The defense attorney may use this to sway the jury, and it’s especially effective if the defendant is very young, very old or owns a small, family-operated business.
Fortunately, there are steps your lawyer can take to counteract these issues. He may convince the judge to forbid the defense from hinting that the award will come directly from the defendant’s pocket and can object to evidence that elicits sympathy for the defendant. Also, your lawyer can emphasize that the verdict you’re seeking isn’t intended to punish or penalize the defendant but to compensate you for your pain, suffering and other damages.
Hire a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer
Before doing anything else, you need to get in touch with a Jacksonville personal injury law firm. Call injury lawyer John Fagan at 904-278-1000 now.