Going to Trial: A Couple in Their 40’s Injured by a Drunk Driver
A drunk driver ran a red light at night and T-boned our clients’ car, a couple in their 40s. The husband suffered neck and back injuries and had extensive physical therapy following the accident. His injuries caused him to miss work initially then step back into light duty then back to full time after about a year. The wife who is a school teacher had serious injuries to her neck and back. It was her hip that had the most serious damage and required surgery to repair a tendon. She is still in pain and will have to have a hip replacement at this young age.
Insurance Companies Always Refuse to Pay
The drunk driver is named in the suit even though he is uninsured. Luckily our clients carried an additional amount of insurance called “Uninsured Motorist Coverage” (UM) for this very situation. However, the insurance company is refusing to compensate our clients for their losses at a reasonable amount . There is a dispute about how much the injuries are worth. “This is almost always the case – we are always fighting the insurance company for a fair settlement. It is their business practice to always fight. This is why we are heading to trial.” Said Bob Giroux, partner.
Numerous attempts at settlement have been made and no agreement between our clients and their own insurance company has resulted. We are preparing for trial. Arbitration may also be an option.
Preparing for Trial
We begin the process of preparing for trial. Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys work as a team drawing on expertise from around the firm. Attorneys that specialize in trials, medical issues and appeals are called on to help ensure that all details are covered, including:
- Ordering of proofs including witnesses and exhibits
- Develop themes and strategies for the case
- Anticipate defense themes and strategies and develop counterpoints
- Contact experts and witnesses and determine availability
- Subpoena records and reports
- Meet with witnesses and experts to prepare general outlines for anticipated testimony
Begin with the End in Mind
Early on in law school Bob Giroux studied the lectures by famous Judge and lecturer Irving Younger. He felt trial advocacy was extremely important but difficult to master and once said you need at least 25 trials to get your trial legs. Bob watched his lectures over and over and even after hundreds of trials still uses many of the tools this legend provided.
One of Young’s 10 commandments is “prepare closing arguments first”. This method ensures that you cover all necessary testimony and evidence during the case that you will need to support your final arguments.
Opening statements are written next. It is written to focus on the improper, illegal or egregious conduct that caused the claimants injuries or damages. Juries correctly are always concerned with people taking responsibility for their errors or misdeeds. They want to hear about what was done or not done and why. We want the jury to know why it’s important for them to hear this case and deliberate.
Prepare Exhibits that Explain and Engage a Jury
To engage a jury and keep them interested and attentive to the points he is making, Bob Giroux uses multiple teaching techniques during his trials. He uses large visuals, videos, handwritten flip charts and 3D models to help him explain complex medical terminology or accident patterns. This technique is unique to Giroux’s method and one he has received much favorable feedback about .
When Arbitration May Be a Good Option
Currently, there is a discussion about using the ADR process known as binding arbitration. Arbitration involves a less formal hearing process, however evidence and attorney arguments are presented to a panel of one to three arbitrators. After which there will be a decision and an award. It is sometimes a good option because it eliminates appeals which could take three or more years. It also helps to reduce costs and stresses on the parties that come with a two or four week trial. Arbitration is usually done in one or two days and the arbitrators are usually known by both sets of attorneys (plaintiff and defense).
Preparation and Experience is Key to a Successful Trial
The team at Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, has hundreds of trials under their belt. It’s this experience that is necessary to succeed for their clients. It’s this reputation of fearlessness that makes insurance companies dread going up against the team and this results in bigger settlements for our clients.