Gregg's Trial Tip of the Week

Gregg's Trial Tip of the Week

Preparation is the key to maximizing the value of your client’s case. Prepare the case as if it will be tried.

In a serious injury case, have friends, family and co-workers testify about how the injury affects your client’s life.

In a significant injury case, use your client as “demonstrative evidence”. When the treating doctor is describing the injury to the jury.

When an adverse witness makes a prior inconsistent statement, point it out immediately. Contradictions weaken the witness testimony and undermine the defense overall credibility.

If an adverse witness insists on answering close-ended questions with a Niagara of words, ask the judge to admonish the witness to listen to the question and answer only the question asked.

During direct-examination, stand beyond the last juror furthest from the witness stand. This will cause your witness to maintain eye contact and connect with the jury while telling her story.

In preparation for trial, troll the defense expert’s website. You may find links to authoritative sources which support your theory(s). It makes for great cross-examination.

Begin the cross-examination of the defense medical expert on areas of agreement (i.e., basic facts of the accident, plaintiff’s documented complaints in the treating records, general causation between accident and injury, areas of agreement in the defense doctor’s own report).

When you question the key defense witness into a corner with no wiggle room ask the witness to look directly at the jury to explain his answer (i.e. – Mr. Jones, look at the jury and tell them why you chose to violate your own company’s policy and put the lives of innocent people at risk.) Watch the witness squirm.

Given the uncertainty of a jury verdict, it is generally in your client’s best interest to attempt settlement. If the negotiation proves unsuccessful, re-direct all your focus and energy into the trial. Remember, you can only control what you have the ability to control.

The most effective case presentation enables the jury to reach the result you want on their own.

The lawyer’s job is to take the jury by the hand and lead them to that result.

Jury’s don’t want to be force-fed.

In a substantial case that must be tried, you can control risk by considering a “high-low” agreement, where the plaintiff agrees to a guaranteed “low” amount, even if the case is lost, in exchange for capping the defendant’s monetary exposure at an agreed-upon “high” amount.

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