When you do finally get your day in court, a year or more after your lawsuit begins, you will face a panel of jurors from the community. Franklin County jurors are mostly from Pasco. Benton County jurors are mostly from Kennewick or Richland. And almost all of them have witnessed a car accident like this one on the Blue Bridge.
Most of these potential jurors have never been into the courthouse except to get their passport or to get married. Some of the potential jurors may be excused from service because they are single parents without someone to care for their children, or because they run their own business, or because they know one of the parties to the lawsuit. This gets sorted out in jury selection (also called voir dire). Unfortunately for car accident victims, any juror that knows about car insurance, has been in a car accident, has ever seen a crash on the Blue Bridge, or knows the games insurance companies play almost never ends up on the jury (they are stricken from the jury by the insurance company’s lawyer).
So when the jury is listening to your case, they often wonder if insurance is available. I wish I could shout out, “Yes, of course insurance is available! We wouldn’t be here if the insurance company would have offered a reasonable settlement.” In fact, the lawyers at Anderson Law have never taken a case to trial that didn’t have insurance. The simple fact is this: uninsured defendants don’t have the ability to pay a judgment for your medical bills or damages.
Insurance or not, the most important issue to present to the jury is that you were injured and the only remedy for your injuries is money. There are no magic wands, no going back in time, and no undo buttons. The jury has to believe you and they have to believe in your case. The jury also has to be disappointed, maybe even outraged, with the conduct of the defendant. If the jury believes in you and your claim, you could receive many times more than the insurance company’s last offer. However, if any of these elements is missing, the jury may be hesitant to put the defendant on the hook and they could award a defense verdict. A defense verdict, or zero dollars, is a real possibility in Benton, Franklin, Yakima, and Walla Walla counties where many potential jurors have been convinced that injured plaintiffs are “litigious” or are seeking “jackpot justice”. It can be a painful experience for our clients when the jury doesn’t validate their pain and suffering. And the pain is compounded by the fact that it costs several thousand dollars just to present their claim to the jury.
So, having your day in court may not be all you think it is or should be. But, the fortunate reality is that most claims are resolved prior to filing a lawsuit. In fact, less than 1% of injured plaintiffs end up presenting their claim to a jury. In any case, you and your lawyer should be prepared to go to trial. That is often the only way to get the insurance company’s attention. And that is what we at Anderson Law do.