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Did You Know Lawyers are NOT Allowed to Talk About the Law During Closing Arguments in Accident & Medical Malpractice Cases?

In New York, that's absolutely true.

I can't tell the jury what the law is.

Neither can my opponent.

I'd like to.

But I can't.

Want to know why?

It's because that's the trial Judge's function.

The judge tells the jury what the law is in our case after the attorneys have finished making their closing arguments.

Despite this, most attorneys try and work around this rule.

We want the jury to get a hint of what the law is from us.

This way, when they again hear it from the Judge, the common thinking is that it will reinforce our credibility.

Credibility from having already discussed the law with the jury.

Or at least having addressed it.

We're supposed to argue the facts.

We're supposed to show that certain witnesses have been less than truthful.

That certain witnesses are liars.

That certain witnesses cannot be believed.

For example, during closing arguments, I could not give the jury an explanation of what medical negligence is. 

That means I couldn't say "Medical negligence is carelessness of a medical professional."

Nor am I supposed to explain what causation is.

So, I would be prohibited from explaining in detail how causation is merely that link that connects the wrongdoing to the injury. 

When it comes to what we have to prove in order to justify a verdict in our favor, that's legally known as the 'burden of proof'.

I'd love nothing more than to simply explain to the jury that we don't really have to prove anything. 

Instead, we only have to show that we are slightly more likely right than wrong.

Legally, that's known as the 'preponderance of evidence'.

If I were to start explaining the law during my closing argument, my adversary would jump up and yell "OBJECTION JUDGE!"

The Judge would 'sustain' the objection.

Meaning that he agrees with my adversary.

Meaning that I'd have to stop explaining the law to the jury.

Even with these prohibitions, each lawyer tries to interject his version of what the law is and then quickly say that the Judge will give them details on the law shortly.

To watch a sample closing argument in a fall from hospital bed case resulting in death, I invite you to watch the quick video below...


Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer