Every trial lawyer you speak to who handles medical malpractice, accident cases or wrongful death matters here in New York will tell you they have no hesitation to taking a verdict in a case that goes to trial.
A trial lawyer cannot be afraid to have a jury render a verdict. It doesn't matter whether you are a plaintiff's attorney or defense attorney- you cannot be afraid.
The nature of the civil justice system is that if the parties cannot resolve their dispute about who caused the injuries and the extent of the injuries, then we let a group of six people in the community decide for us.
A jury will ultimately decide if the people you have sued are responsible for your injuries, and if they are, how much compensation to award to you as a result of those injuries.
The problem with taking a case to verdict is that the outcome is unknown.
It is unknown whether a jury will award you money.
It is unknown whether the jury will award you a lot of money.
It is unknown whether jury will decide your case has no merit not award you any money.
As a result of these unknown issues, there are significant risks involved with allowing a jury to ultimately render decision, known as a 'verdict'.
The risk is that there is a considerable investment of time, energy and resources to try your case all the way to verdict. The investment can be considerable depending upon the type of case you have. In medical malpractice cases it is common for the trial attorney to spend anywhere from $30,000-$100,000 just to try the case. Those costs involve preparation, transcripts, expert witness fees and more.
You might think applies only to lawyers who represent injured victims. Not true.
In fact, it applies the same to the defense lawyers and their insurance companies as well.
Defense attorneys must weigh the same risks, benefits and alternatives to proceeding to trial. They also run the risk of having an award rendered against them. There is also the risk that the amount awarded will be in excess of what the insurance policy covers. There is the likelihood that if a jury awards a substantial amount of money against them and their clients, they will then have to pay an attorney to appeal the case which will mean the case will drag on for two more years.
During course of a lawsuit, there may be an occasion where settlement negotiations will take place.
If a substantial offer is made and if I feel it is in my clients best interests to consider such an offer, they must weigh the risks, benefits and alternatives to accepting a significant offer compared to the risk of proceeding to trial and taking a verdict.
My goal, as an experienced trial attorney, is to provide guidance to you so you can make the best educated decision possible about what to do next.