You're going to trial because your doctor, the one you sued, refuses to acknowledge he did anything wrong.
He refuses to accept responsiblity for your injuries.
He refuses to negotiate.
He refuses to enter into settlment discussions.
That means your case is going to trial.
That means six members of the community are going to decide if you are slightly more likely right than wrong that what you are claiming is true.
In order for the jury to consider how much money you are to receive as a form of compensation for your injuries, they must first answer two very important questions.
The first question typically involves your doctors' carelessness.
"Was Dr. Jones negligent?"
Yes or no.
What does that mean?
It means the jury has to decide if Dr. Jones violated the basic standards of medical care. In other words, was he careless?
Lawyers call that 'liability'.
The jury has to determine if Dr. Jones is liable for his improper actions.
If not, then your case ends right there.
You receive nothing.
"Was Dr. Jones' negligence a proximate cause of your injuries?"
Yes or no.
Well, what does that mean?
It means the jury has to decide if there's a link or a bridge between the wrongdoing and your injury.
We lawyers call that proximate cause or causation.
If the answer is no, then your case ends right there. The jury is told not to go any further.
If the answer is yes, then they are required to answer a series of questions about how much money you are to receive for all of your injuries, your damages and your losses.
The jury is also told not to simply add up each individual item of damages to see how big or small the verdict is. Instead, they are to consider each element of damages individually.
In fact, the jury is not to consider your attorney's fee when deciding how much money you receive.
If the jury is considering giving you $1 million dollars for the pain and suffering you endured in the past, they are NOT to add on additional money for your attorney's fee. That means that they should not be giving you $1.4 million knowing that your attorney will receive part of that as his fee.
The reality is that an attorney who takes on a medical malpractice case in New York only gets paid if you get money for your injuries. That means he only gets paid if you get a favorable result, either by settlement or by verdict.
If you lose your case, your lawyer gets NOTHING.
We call that fee arrangement a contingency fee. That means your attorney's fee is contingent or dependent upon you getting a good result.
The jury is never to consider the amount your attorney will receive if they give you damages in your case.