Palm Desert Injury Lawyer Explains Pain And Suffering Damages
Palm Desert car crash accident victims who are not able to settle their cases with the not so friendly insurance adjuster for the party who caused the accident will probably have to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to file a lawsuit. This may ultimately result in going to court and letting a jury decide on the damages to be awarded. Many of our clients at the Law Firm of Barry Regar have difficulty understanding how jurors can listen to medical testimony and then decide on how much money to award the plaintiff, the person suing the defendant who caused the accident. I will explain this process.
Jurors are not allowed to begin their deliberation process after the presentation of evidence is concluded until the judge reads the jury instructions that are contained in California Civil Jury Instructions . CACI contains the law applicable to a particular kind of case and explains the law in terms that are supposed to be readily understood by lay persons. Although I have been a Palm Springs personal injury lawyer for over 4 decades I must admit that the so-called, “user friendly” jury instructions are often confusing and hard to grasp for non-lawyers. Nevertheless jurors must listen and use the instructions in order to arrive at a verdict. For the most part jurors seem to get it and are able to use the collective wisdom of a group of twelve citizens of Riverside County and get through the process which is how our American legal system is designed to work.
If a person suffered bodily injuries caused by the wrongful act of another person, that injury must be, “paid for”, by the defendant. The jury decides how much the defendant must pay for all damages inflicted on the injured party. California Civil Jury Instruction 3905A says in part, that the injured party should be compensated for, “Past and future physical pain/ mental suffering/ loss of enjoyment of life/ disfigurement/ physical impairment/ inconvenience/ grief/ anxiety/ humiliation and emotional distress. This instruction concludes by stating, “No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense”
Thus the jury has the power and the legal mandate to listen to all the evidence and award the injured person what they the jury feel is reasonable in light of all the evidence presented in court. Of course the lawyers for the person suing and the person being sued are permitted to argue their respective cases at the end of the trial which is called, “closing arguments”. When I am giving my closing argument at the end of a jury trial in Indio I go over all the evidence that has been presented during the trial. I explain how the law should be used to consider the evidence presented and I then give reasons why I believe my client should win the case. Probably the most important part of the trial is to give the jury some guidelines and methods to translate, “pain and suffering”, evidence into a money verdict. To that end I can point out to the jury that my Coachella Valley auto accident client has been in pain since the accident and the medical evidence presented shows that the pain and suffering will continue for the rest of my client’s life. I can only ask for a reasonable verdict for past and future pain and suffering if I have presented believable medical evidence that supports my request for a certain sum of money to be awarded to my client for what they have endured in the past and how they will suffer in the future.
I have found that even more important than the testimony of medical doctors as to my client’s painful injuries is the testimony of my client. If the jury doesn’t believe my client, then regardless of what my client’s doctor says on the witness stand, the jury is not generally inclined to give my client the money verdict that I think would be appropriate and reasonable in light of all the evidence presented. So people injured in accidents that end up in an Indio personal injury trial should understand that their testimony must be truthful and believable. Jurors are very skeptical about people who come into court asking for money for personal injuries. They have all heard the propaganda disseminated by insurance companies about frivolous lawsuits. So I tell my clients that jurors are up to the task of arriving at reasonable money verdicts for pain and suffering when they are given honest and convincing evidence to support such a verdict and are willing to follow the jury instructions.