Personal Injury Accidents and Understanding the Jury
One of the most common questions our experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley often receive when speaking with a new or potential client is how important it is for your personal injury case that you be considered completely without fault in the motor vehicle accident in which you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence occurring. The answer surprises many people: you do not have to be completely blameless or without fault to have a realistic chance at recovering close to your full damages from whatever motor vehicle accident you were injured in. Accidents are very complicated from a factual perspective and can have multiple causes, which is one reason why virtually every case requires at least one, if not multiple, accident reconstruction experts. Juries are also much smarter than most people (particularly the attorneys) given them credit for: the jurors all bring their own experiences having driven themselves around, in some cases for decades, to the jury room when the jurors are sworn in to serve as a juror in your personal injury case. Therefore, jurors will understand that accidents happen for a variety of reasons and that rarely is someone who was involved in an accident ever completely blameless. This is one reason to treat the jury as adults with common sense when presenting a client’s case to the jury. Many attorneys make the mistake of trying to pretend that jurors will not understand the first thing about motor vehicle accidents and how they occur. Instead, because we have tried so many personal injury cases, what our attorneys know is that juries value honesty above everything else, so we are honest with the jury.
Most Accidents are Complicated
Most accidents are very complicated factual scenarios. It is very rare that an accident occurred 100 percent due to one person’s actions. If you are proceeding through a green light, look both ways before you enter the intersection like you are supposed to do, and get smashed into by a car speeding through a red light, then it is one of the rare clear cut scenarios in which you were doing what you were supposed to, the other driver was not doing what he was not supposed to and is at fault for the accident, plain and simple. However, if you gunned it the instant the light turned green and did not look both ways before proceeding into the intersection and the other person was caught in a position where he should have stopped because the light was yellow but he was going fast enough that there was still a chance he may have made it before the light turned red, then this is a different story. Sure, the driver that ran the red light is still at fault for running the red light, but perhaps you are also at fault as well (less so than the other driver, obviously) for the accident occurring given you did not look both ways before proceeding into the intersection and for gunning the engine the minute the light turned green.
Juries Are Smart and Understand Much More than Most People Understand Cases or Accidents
Juries are people, and often drivers, that bring their own history to a trial involving a motor vehicle accident. Whether it was raining, the driver in front of you stopped suddenly, or that you were just following too closely, a jury is going to understand that the complicated factual scenarios that most traffic accidents present are rarely as clear-cut as they seem to be. Therefore, the jury will understand (even without the attorneys or some fancy expert trying to muddy the water) that the accident in which you were injured may have multiple parties at fault to a greater or lesser degree each. This is why juries in motor vehicle accident cases are required to apportion percentages of fault in rendering their verdict.
So How Does My Attorney Handle This Situation?
Different attorneys may have different approaches to handling situations in which the person who was injured may have had a role in the accident in which that person was injured. You will often see defense attorneys in such situations who overplay their hand and try to make too much of a big deal out of the fact that the accident victim may have had a role in the accident occurring. This risks alienating the jury. Instead, our experienced personal injury attorneys know it is best to state the obvious: accidents are complicated and have many different causes. If our client had a role, then it was not the primary role, so there is nothing to be gained by trying to hide that fact. The negligent motorist who caused the accident still played the primary role in causing the accident and it makes no sense to try to hide any role our client may have played and risk alienating the jury in the process. Therefore, we tell the jury the truth about how the accident occurred, with the faith borne out of seeing countless juries do the right thing when you are honest with them. Juries appreciate honesty, so that is what we give them.
Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley
At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and other personal injury scenarios in Florida. One of the benefits of that long experience is that our attorneys have the perspective to know how to handle a situation where our client may bear some fault for what occurred. This is not something to hide, but instead to acknowledge and be upfront with the jury, because our attorneys have been in front of enough juries to understand they want the truth and will punish someone who tries to hide it. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall or any other situation caused by someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.