Our attorneys have taken many cases to trial. There are things that you may be surprised to find that jurors do not know about when they happen behind the scenes of a trial. Here are five things that jurors rarely know and how they may impact your trial:
- There is often substantial insurance involved – A frequent question in a trial is who will pay for the verdict? The answer that many jurors do not know is that there is almost always substantial insurance money involved, particularly in work injury cases. Often a defendant will have several insurance policies that will cover the lawsuit. Defense attorneys often try to portray their clients as the “little guy,” but in reality, they often have huge, billion-dollar insurance companies backing them that will pay the verdict. It is also likely that the insurance claim adjuster has never met the defendant that has paid the insurance, and will likely receive a bonus if he or she is able to settle the case with a low-ball offer.
- By the time the case goes to trial, the plaintiff has typically tried to settle the claim with the insurance company multiple times – Most injured plaintiffs are reasonable in what they are demanding. They likely have never been in this situation before and likely will never be again. In fact, they want to settle the case so they can move on with their lives. They need the financial resources the case will provide, which is why many insurance companies will try to “starve” the plaintiff by putting them through months, and even years, of litigation. They know that if they hold out long enough, most plaintiffs will settle for pennies on the dollar of what their claim is actually worth.
- The insurance company will likely appeal the jury’s award – In most states, including Texas, if an insurance company does not accept a reasonable offer that is within the limits of the policy, they will be on the hook for the full award of the jury. For example, the insurance has a one million dollar policy, and the plaintiff offers to settle for $750,00 but the claims agent turns down the offer, then the case goes to trial and the jury awards one million, they would be responsible for the full amount. In Texas, this law is called the Stowers doctrine.
- Plaintiffs do not get to take home the entire amount of the award – In many cases, the disability or health insurance gets the right to “first money.” Even though the injured person has paid for their coverage, the insurance company will get “first money” from the award. They will collect premiums and collect from another insurance company that paid the jury award.
- The manner in which the jury answered questions could limit the award of the plaintiff – When a trial is over, most jurors receive a jury charge. Part of this is a set of instructions and questions for the jury. The answers often have consequences that the jurors did not anticipate. For example, one question may ask jurors to assign a percentage to each party involved. In Texas, if a jury assigns more than 50% to the plaintiff, they will recover nothing from their claim.
Contact an Experienced Maritime Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a maritime accident, the attorneys at Kolodny Law Firm can help. Our attorneys handle nothing but maritime law and have years of experience helping clients. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.