Wait, the settlement process takes place out-of-court. Is it possible for a jury to play a role in that out-of-court process? Yes, it is. During the negotiations, both sides are trying to guess at a jury’s decision, if the case were to be decided in a courtroom.
How might the jury apportion liability?
Would a jury be apt to accept a defendant’s claim that the plaintiff was partly responsible for the accident?
If the jury did accept that claim, how might it apportion the liability? Which of the disputing parties would probably suffer more, as the result of a jury’s decision to reduce that same party’s possible compensation?
Are there any damage caps in the jurisdiction where the trial will be held?
Personal injury lawyers in Northbrook know about the existence of such caps. Juries are not told about such caps, but judges have to take those caps into account, after having heard the jury’s decision.
Has the claimant sought compensation for any future medical expenses, or for loss of future earning opportunities?
Claimants receive their money at the present time, but it is supposed to cover their anticipated needs in the future. How can a lawyer judge the ability of a settlement to provide that degree of coverage?
Today, lawyers have access to software that can help them make such a judgment call. Any personal injury attorney should be able to use a computer, in order to learn the best size for a settlement.
Lawyers know particular issues about a client’s case.
An attorney might suspect that a given issue should have the ability to sway the jury’s decision. Was the client the victim of a crime that had plagued many in this particular jurisdiction? If that were to be the case, then the jury might feel eager to award a generous award, along with punitive damages.
Meanwhile, the insurance adjuster might have questions about one or more of the claimant’s actions.
For instance, the claimant might have a pre-existing condition. The adjuster would learn more about that condition, and then ask this question: Would a jury feel that the claimant should have been wearing some form of protective gear? If the adjuster were to think that the answer to that question was “yes,” then the insurance company would be inclined to favor a small settlement.
In the above situation, the adjuster would not have given thought to introduction of a medical expert. A good personal injury lawyer could force an adjuster to think seriously about the chances for the entrance of such an expert during a trial. If easy to understand, the expert’s testimony might push a jury to discount allegations from the defense that the claimant should have worn protective gear.