Jury trials are back after a lengthy hiatus due to COVID-19 and Mark T. Freeley, the North Shore Injury Lawyer, wants to give you the inside scoop. Keep reading to learn more about what this means for Suffolk County and gain some helpful insight into what to expect.
The Supreme Court in Riverhead is back in business for Jury trials, and my firm has been selecting juries and trying cases on accident injury cases again since October 2021. Jury trials are essential to keep the playing field level when it comes to dealing with insurance companies, the only threat we have when negotiating for a fair settlement for injured clients is a jury who will deliver fair and just compensation in their verdict. These juries are what keeps the pressure on the insurance companies to do the right thing and make fair settlement offers.
Another important fact we keep in mind when it comes to jury trials is that insurance companies know which firms are willing to go the distance to properly try a personal injury case. Doing this effectively not only takes skill and experience, but the resources to hire necessary experts and then have them testify at trial, which can be costly.
Example of a recent case we tried in Riverhead
In one of our most recent cases that went to trial in Riverhead this past November, our client’s car had been struck in the rear by the defendant’s car. The insurance company disputed fault all the way up until we had selected a jury. It was only after we selected a jury that they finally conceded liability. That left damages as the only issue remaining and damages consist of three categories: pain and suffering (including loss of quality of life), medical costs, and loss of income.
Our client had suffered a serious injury to his spine due to the accident which required surgery. Even though our client’s injury was clearly due to the accident, the insurance company refused to make any settlement offer until right before trial. Their initial offers were low ball offers, which we repeatedly rejected and once a jury was selected, they finally offered $500,000.00, which given our client’s damages, which was still very low.
How we used our resources to get the result our client deserved
Since we knew this offer was extremely low, we began lining up witnesses to testify at trial. Opening statements were made and our client testified, as did other key people including his treating orthopedic surgeon, a radiologist expert, a vocational expert, and a physical medicine rehabilitation expert. As it became increasingly clearer to the insurance company that a jury verdict could come in much larger than their offer, they began to make additional settlement offers. We still had a life care planner and economist waiting to testify which they knew as well.
In the end, the insurance company raised their offer to $1.5 million which our client accepted, and the case was settled. Throughout the course of the case, my firm spent nearly $90,000.00 in litigation costs due to the high costs associated with the required experts, their reports, and court fees. Many personal injury firms do not have the resources to litigate a case to this extent, but it is necessary in order to obtain the results that our clients deserve.
Our client can now stop worrying and instead focus on more important things in life like taking care of his family, including his two young girls. Stories like this one are prime examples of why I love doing what I do. After more than 30 years of fighting insurance companies on behalf of Long Island families, I still feel like I am doing important work that truly makes a difference.