A lot could happen and it's not good for your or your case. Let me tell you why...
You've sued your doctor because you claim he was careless. You claim that his carelessness caused you harm. You claim that your injuries are permanent and disabling.
Your doctor says your case is baloney! He says he did nothing wrong. He argues that you caused your own injuries by not doing what he told you to do. Then he argues that even if he did something wrong, whatever he did, or didn't do, did not cause your injuries. Then, as if to dig the knife in deeper, he argues that your injuries aren't as bad as you claim.
This means that your case will not settle. This means that the defense refuses to negotiate. This means that your case is going to trial. But, it will take two to three years to get there. That's a long time.
During those intervening years, you are frustrated. Frustrated with the pace at which your lawsuit is proceeding. Frustrated with your inability to do those activities that you used to do. Frustrated with your inability to earn a living.
You hired the best medical malpractice lawyer you could find. He told you it wouldn't cost you a dime out of your own pocket to sue your doctor. Only if you won your case would you have to pay your lawyer. "That's great!" you thought. "No skin off my back. I'll let the lawyer invest all his own money. Let him do all the work. Then, if we win, he can get his expenses back and also his fee. Sounds good to me!" you think to yourself.
But all this frustration that's built up over the years is taking a toll on you. You're fed up. You're tired of being disabled. You're tired of the excuses from your lawyer about why your case is taking so long to get to trial.
Finally, your lawyer tells you that your case is coming up for trial. He needs you to come into his office to prepare you for trial.
You're thrilled. You're excited. You're also scared. Scared to death that you now have to face six strangers and disclose all your frailties and disabilities. Scared that you'll have to face your doctor. The one you trusted. The one you loved.
You meet with your lawyer. He spends a few hours 'preparing' you for trial. It's exhausting. It's frustrating. You don't remember half the details he's asking you about. It's been a few years since this incident happened. You're worried. You're worried what the jury will think if you forget. You're worried what will happen if you lose your case. You're worried about appeals and the uncertainty of a jury verdict.
You're worried about the judge and whether he'll treat you fairly. You're worried about getting to court each morning on time and needing to leave extra early to get through court house security. You're worried about what to wear. You're worried about the little things.
These worries and frustrations are overwhelming you. Finally, you give up. You resign yourself that you're simply NOT going to show up to your own trial. Screw it. Let your lawyer handle it. Let him try your case without you. He can do it. You read about attorneys doing that, especially in wrongful death cases where the injured patient is no longer around to testify. He can figure out a way to get it done.
This way you don't have to fret. You don't have to worry. You don't have to face your fears. You can stay in the comfort of your own home. Your lawyer will call you with updates at the end of each day. At least that's what you hope he'll do.
You call your lawyer the day before your trial is scheduled to start. You tell him you're not coming in. You're not going to testify. You're fed up and you're frustrated. Whatever happens, happens.
Your lawyer is shocked. Shocked that you have taken this attitude. Shocked because he has spent over fifty thousand dollars prosecuting your case and spent hundreds of hours of his time on your case. Shocked because he never expected this from you. He's also shocked because in his entire career of thirty years handling these cases, not a single client ever said they were not showing up to their trial.
He's also shocked about what will happen if you don't show up. He's going to lose his investment of time and money if you don't show up.
Simple. As the person bringing the lawsuit, you are claiming that your doctor violated the basic standards of medical care. YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY MUST PROVE IT. You MUST show to the jury that you are more likely right than wrong that what you are claiming is true.
Your doctor doesn't have to prove anything. He doesn't have to disprove it either. He can just sit there quietly, without putting on any witnesses and hope that your proof is insufficient to justify a verdcit in your favor.
Since you are the one who was injured and since you are the one claiming your doctor was careless, the jury wants to see you. They want to hear from you. They want to understand what you went through. They want to know how your injuries have affected you.
If you don't show up, they'll want to know why.
If you don't show up, they'll want to know what's preventing you from being in court and talking with the jury.
If you don't show up and do not have a good excuse, they'll be highly suspect about your claims.
Having your attorney explain that you're fed up is NOT a good excuse.
Having your attorney tell the jury that you fear being in court is NOT a good excuse.
Your attorney cannot even read your pretrial testimony to the jury unless he has a valid excuse that explains WHY you are not in court to testify in person.
If you don't show up, your case could be dismissed by the judge before even getting started.
If you don't show up, your attorney will likely be unable to prove to the jury that you are entitled to a verdict in your favor.
If you don't show up, the jury will never understand how your doctor harmed you and how your injuries affect your life.
If you don't show up, the jury will think you're not interested in the outcome.
The jury will rightfully believe that you have better things to do while they sit in judgment on your case, taking time away from their family.
You brought a case. You have to show up. It's that simple.
The jury needs to hear from you.
The jury needs to see you.
The jury needs to understand, in your own words, what happened to you and how you're dealing with your injuries.
If they don't see you because you decided to screw it and hope your lawyer can try your case without you, you're mistaken. You'll get that call telling you your case has been dismissed all because you didn't care. After all these years.
That's not what you want to happen, is it?
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