Juries are one of, if not the single most, unpredictable variable in any personal injury case. While a skilled attorney will do everything they can to ensure that their client is left with a fair jury, there is no way to read the minds of potential jurors and foresee how they will view certain issues that may come up at trial. It is therefore critically important that personal injury attorneys prepare a solid legal argument on behalf of their client, and also present it in a polished, professional manner.
Jury Awards Plaintiff Zero Dollars in Recent Personal Injury Case
Earlier this month, a Nebraska jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, but awarded the plaintiff a zero-dollar verdict. In the case, Lowman v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company, the plaintiff was injured when he was struck by an underinsured motorist. Because the motorist was underinsured, the plaintiff looked to his own insurance carrier to help make up the difference.
State Farm admitted that the underinsured motorist was responsible for the accident, but contested whether the driver’s negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. Because the plaintiff’s medical bills had already been paid, the only claim she was making was for the pain and suffering she sustained as a result of the accident.
During argument, the plaintiff’s attorney told the jurors that “If you think [the plaintiff] is exaggerating, there should be no verdict. If you think she’s a liar, a cheat and a fraud, there should be no verdict.” After the parties concluded their arguments and rested, the jury was sent back to deliberate. Upon returning to the courtroom, the jury announced that it believed the defendant was responsible for the accident. However, when it came time to announce how much money the plaintiff would be awarded, the jury listed “zero.”
The plaintiff was understandably dissatisfied with the verdict, and appealed the case to a higher court, arguing that the zero-dollar verdict was not a clear indication of the jury’s intentions. However, the court pointed to the plaintiff’s counsel’s arguments, and held that in this case there was sufficient evidence to understand the jury’s reasoning in providing a zero-dollar verdict.
Have You Been Involved in a Serious Virginia Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a serious Virginia accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. But as was reflected in the case above, the assistance of a skilled and dedicated attorney is extremely important to a case’s viability and ultimate success. The attorneys at the Virginia law firm of The Schupak Law Firm have decades of collective experience representing clients in all kinds lawsuits, including those involving insurance companies. Call 888-407-4529 to set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who can discuss your case with you, assess its merits, and determine what monetary compensation you may be entitled to if successful.
See More Blog Posts:
Punitive Damages Awards in Injury and Wrongful Death Cases Often Exceed Compensatory Damages, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, March 4, 2016.
The Enforceability of Liability Release Waivers in Virginia Courts, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, February 3, 2016.