What Are We Going to Do With the Money?
When a jury knows that a portion of the money at issue is going to towards
a specific item (such as medical bills, wheelchairs, and offsetting lost
salary), they are comfortable including that in their verdict. And when
they are asked to value the attorney's fees, they are glad to do that
once they know they can.
It is much harder for a jury to include money to cover the remainder of
what you've lost if they fear that you are just going to buy a Corvette.
But we can't explain what we're going to do with it. To do so,
we'd have to explain that the attorney's fees are removed from
it, and we're not allowed to say that. We'd also have to explain
that we're really only likely to get the amount of the insurance coverage
if the verdict were higher, and we're not allowed to say that, either.
So let me tell you something before you hire us that I wish I could tell
your jury. Our clients don't buy Corvettes. They make us proud. One
mother used the money to fund a scholarship in her daughter's name.
Another client purchased a home where her entire extended family could
come and live and help with her healthcare needs. A husband and wife paid
off all their debts and purchased an annuity to help them through their
years without the lost salary. Many times, we've sent children who
have lost a parent to college.
One client made me promise, before he hired me, that we would use the money
to help mend fences with his family. Years before, he had let his addiction
drive apart family members that had been close, and he wanted to right
that wrong. He died from his injuries before the money came, but I kept
that promise. I found his lost daughter, "S.," told her the
news of his death, explained that he had beaten the addiction at the time
of his injury, and was working to make himself worthy of her again. I
told her of the promise he made me make. I showed S. the photo of her
he kept in his wallet for all the years he had been gone. I held her at
his funeral. I spent the day with the entire family, reunited as he had
hoped, and telling stories about him. A few days later I received a thank-you
card from S.'s aunt: "S. stayed until the sun went down, and
went through Mom's pictures with my sisters. They found some of her
as a child. My niece went by the grave the next day and found that S.
had left flowers. Thank you so much. C.B."
We won't just tell you to do the right thing with the money; we'll
help you do it.
That You Didn't Believe in Lawsuits, Either
Just about every first conversation I have with a client includes their
mentioning, "I don't really believe in lawsuits." Jurors
say this, too.
I've learned that people say this because what they do believe is people
are fundamentally good and people take responsibility for helping when
they hurt and the insurance company will do the right thing and take care of them.
It is only when the Defendant denies obvious responsibility, and the insurance
company ignores their attempts to resolve the matter fairly that they
realize, nobody wants to start a lawsuit, but the other side gave them