At trial, at the end of the case I will often suggest to the jury how much compensation I believe they should give you.
I will make recommendations.
I will give a suggestion. I will give examples of people who have been in situations where they have received large amounts of compensation for their efforts. I will contrast what others may have received that are commonly well known such as the value of a painting or the value of an actor for their acting skills or a prize fighter.
I will explain to the jury the basis for which I am asking you to be compensated.
Before making closing remarks, the defense has to determine what strategy to take in approaching these closing remarks.
Remember, in a civil case in New York involving a medical malpractice trial, a car accident trial or even a wrongful death trial, the defense attorney always goes first when making closing arguments to the jury.
As the attorney representing the injured victim, also known as the plaintiff's attorney, I will have the last word with the jury before the judge has an opportunity to explain to the jury the applicable law in this type of case.
I've seen some very good defense lawyers here in New York tell the jury exactly how much they believe the jury should award to you.
On the other hand, there are also some very good defense strategies where there is no amount given and instead the entire argument is geared toward showing the jury why you are not entitled to anything.
In a case where the defense attorney believes that a jury will find their client responsible for your injuries, the next step for them is to try and minimize the amount of money that the jury will give you in order to compensate you for your losses.
In those instances, a shrewd and savvy defense lawyer will argue multiple conflicting points.
At first he will argue to the jury that you are not entitled to a verdict. Then, he will argue that if by some chance you are entitled to a verdict, then you should disregard what plaintiffs attorney is asking you for, and instead only award "this much."
When the defense attorney refers to “this much,” he will usually suggest a very small or minimal amount of money as a means of compensating you.
The reason this can be very effective is because now he has placed into the jury's mind a figure upon which to value your case.
When I get up to give closing remarks in that instance, I then must show to the jury and contrast the value that the defense lawyer has placed on your injuries compared to what your injuries are truly worth.
Regardless of what the defense lawyer has suggested and regardless of what I believe your case is truly worth, the jury is fully within their right to award more than what I am requesting, to award less or even the amount that I am requesting. They are tasked with coming up with an amount of money that fully compensates you for your injuries, as long as they have determined that the people you have sued are responsible for your injuries.