Personal injury attorneys wish their clients and others understood a few things about litigating a personal injury case.
Personal injury attorneys practice in a very busy area of the law. This means they encounter a lot of clients in the course of a lawsuit. Sometimes there is a pattern to the questions or decisions these individuals make throughout a case. Therefore, the following is a list of ideas or concepts that personal injury lawyers wish people knew about personal injury law.
Huge Payouts Are Relatively Rare
People hear about multi-million dollar verdicts in the news, but these represent a very small number of personal injury lawsuits. First and foremost, most personal injury lawsuits settle and never get to trial. Second, when they do go to trial, jury verdicts are rarely extremely large. And when they are large, there’s usually a very good reason for it.
When There’s a Large Payout, Something Really Bad Happened
Tort reform experts try to give the impression that juries love to award large monetary judgments to undeserving plaintiffs at the expense of innocent and hardworking defendants who are the victims of greedy lawyers or plaintiffs. This is almost never the case.
When the news outlets publish a story about a substantial judgment, there is almost always a reason for the sizeable monetary amount. For example, the plaintiff’s injuries may be extremely severe. Other times, the defendant behaves in an exceptionally terrible way.
One good example of this is the notorious McDonald’s spilled coffee lawsuit. There are many facts about that case that most people don’t understand or know. For instance:
- McDonald’s knew of hundreds of incidents where customers got hurt from excessively hot coffee.
- McDonald’s had a policy of serving the coffee around 180 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit, which could cause third-degree burns in as little as three seconds after exposure to the skin.
- The plaintiff was not driving her vehicle when the spill occurred.
- The plaintiff suffered severe injuries that resulted in third-degree burns and skin grafts.
- There was no reason to serve coffee this hot because it would burn the mouth and throat if consumed shortly after serving.
- McDonald’s never warned consumers the coffee was this hot.
- McDonald’s had been aware of hot coffee injuries for ten years, yet refused to do anything about it.
- The huge monetary award everyone hears about wound up reduced by 80% by the judge.
- The plaintiff wanted just $20,000 to pay for her medical injuries, but McDonald’s only offered $800 to settle the case.
A Winning Case Can Take a Long Time to Win
Someone might think that with a strong case, it would result in an easy win at trial or a quick settlement of substantial size. But this doesn’t always happen. Some defendants wish to take their chances in court because they don’t want (or can’t) pay a fair settlement amount. And even if the plaintiff wins at trial, there’s always the chance of an appeal. So even the strongest case can sometimes take several years or even decades to finally end.
Learn more about personal injury attorneys by contacting the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.