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NJ Injury Lawyers Share How to Understand New Jersey Verdicts and Settlements
Episode 2217th January 2024 • Jersey Justice • Gerald H. Clark, Esq.
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Jersey Justice™ Podcast Episode 22: Understanding New Jersey Verdicts and Settlements

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Transcripts

Speaker:

Welcome to Jersey Justice, a

civil law podcast that shares

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practical tips and stories about

personal and workplace injuries.

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Join two of the brightest New Jersey

injury attorneys, Gerald Clark and Mark

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Morris of Clark Law Firm, as they take

you behind the scenes of justice and civil

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law, but first, a quick disclaimer, the

information shared on this podcast is

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for general information purposes only.

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Nothing on this site should be

taken as legal advice for any

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individual case or situation.

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This information is not intended

to create and does not constitute

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an attorney client relationship.

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All right, everyone, welcome back to

Jersey Justice, and I'm here with Mark,

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and we're going to be talking about

jury verdicts and awards today, and

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I think this is a topic that would be

particularly interesting to our audience

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because I know people all Always wonder,

well, how is a verdict determined?

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How does the jury come to an agreement

and how is everything calculated in

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terms of what they're getting based on

their type of injuries, the evidence

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and all of the things involved?

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So welcome, Mark.

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What can you tell us about

jury verdicts in New Jersey?

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Sure.

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Thanks Dimple.

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So a lot of times first to get to

a jury verdict where we're talking

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about something like damages is

if liability is an issue and by

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liability, I mean, who's at fault.

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Give the example of a car crash.

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Say someone ran a red light

and there's a dispute that the

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defendant, that the person who's

getting sued run the red light.

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Or did the plaintiff, the person who's

bringing the lawsuit, run the red light?

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So question number one would

be, Has plaintiff proven by a

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preponderance of the evidence?

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And the word is preponderance

of the evidence, which is 51%.

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Or it's like 50.

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00001%.

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It's not like you see in criminal cases

where it's beyond a reasonable doubt,

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which is, I don't know the percentage

for that one because I don't need to.

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We don't do, uh We don't

do criminal jurors.

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That's something that we always make

clear is preponderance of the evidence.

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Is it more likely than not?

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Is it probable?

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So question number one would be if

liabilities and dispute is, is it

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more likely than not, or has plaintiff

proven by a preponderance of the

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evidence that defendant was negligent.

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And if we get past that question,

the question number two would

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be, has defendant shown by

preponderance of the evidence.

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that the plaintiff was negligent.

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Say there was a dispute that the

plaintiff did something wrong.

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Almost always it's the plaintiff's burden

of proof, but if defendant's trying to

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show that the plaintiff was negligent,

they would need to prove that element

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of the case, if that makes sense.

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And so, if the plaintiff is,

is 50 percent or less at fault,

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then they get a recovery.

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That recovery just would be discounted by

whatever percentage of fault is assigned

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to them, if, if it's assigned at all.

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I know that this is like fascinating

stuff talking about how percentages get

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assigned for liability or what, but if

we get past all that, and then we're

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into the damages question, usually what

it's going to say is it's going to be a

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line item and it'll say what amount of

money will fairly compensate plaintiff

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for their harms and losses in this case.

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And sometimes we'll get to delineate

out or like space out the pain, the

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suffering loss of enjoyment of life.

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And it's, it's kind of wild.

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I know we've said this in the past

or I've, I've talked about it, but

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In New Jersey, in a lot of states

you can, but in New Jersey, you

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can't suggest a number to the jury.

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So I can't be like, ladies and gentlemen,

my client was catastrophically injured,

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award her, you know, five million dollars.

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Can't do that.

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Like, I would just basically have to

present the case and then leave it up to

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the jury to come up with an idea of value.

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And there is something, it's called a

time unit analysis, which I think New

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Jersey's kind of unique for having that.

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Maybe some other states do.

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But because we can't say, Hey,

this case is worth 5 million.

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I could do this time unit analysis, which

is almost like a mathematical formula.

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And it's the only formula

that's recognized.

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It's in the jury instructions.

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I'm not positive.

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There's a court rule on it.

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I believe that there is, but we need

to say from the beginning of the

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case, we need to let the beginning

of the trial that we're going

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to use this time unit analysis.

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And what it is, We would say something

like, ladies and gentlemen, I'm not

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allowed to tell you a number in a

case like this, but what you can

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do to come up with your verdict is

take one hour of this person's life.

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Is it the morning when they wake up and

they, they can't walk down the stairs

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because their ankles in so much pain.

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Is it the kid's birthday party at

the bowling alley and they're not

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able to bowl because they can't

stand on their feet for too long?

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Is it 30 years from now when

they're 70 something years old and

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their ankle is giving them issues?

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What's one hour of this

person's life worth?

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Take any one of those hours and then

it just becomes a math, a math formula.

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Take that one hour, there's 24

hours in a day, 365 days in a year.

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This person has, say they have

50 years left in their life.

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And once you come up with

what that one hour is worth,

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you've reached your verdict.

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It's just about them

plugging the numbers in.

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And the idea is with that,

which is a fair system.

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But the idea is with that, if you actually

isolate out each and every hour of

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someone's life, who's gotten catastrophic,

catastrophically injured, like many

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of our clients have, that's going to

come out to a fair and just verdict.

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The defense is going to think it's

going to be some huge number, but it's

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going to be a verdict that's designed

to fairly compensate for someone for

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what they've, what they've been through.

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So it's kind of wonky that I'd

love if, because we're kind of the

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experts, like clients will always

ask, Hey, what's my case worth?

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And by the end of the case, you

kind of have a good idea on value.

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If you haven't done this for a

while and just collectively to

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a lot of us here, we'll talk

through cases and look at different

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databases to have an idea of value.

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So I might know how much, and I just

use the example of an ankle injury.

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So I might know how much an ankle

injury with, with surgery is worth.

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But I can't stand there and tell that

number to the jury when we're on trial.

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So it's really up to the jurors

collective wisdom to come up with that

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number, at least when it comes to pain,

suffering, loss of enjoyment of life.

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If there's objective things, say there's

past lost wages, future lost wages,

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unpaid medical bills, future medical

bills, that the jury can hear about,

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like they can get those concrete numbers.

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The idea is that if you're looking

at a pie chart of damages, That

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one little slice would be for, for

wages, past wages, future wages.

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Another tiny slice would

be for medical bills.

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And then the big portion of the pie chart

would be the pain, the suffering, loss

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of enjoyment of life, because the idea is

with things like pain and suffering, like

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how do you put a dollar figure on that?

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And I just think like I had

the flu like a week ago.

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And if someone was like, I'll give

you a thousand dollars a day or 5,

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000 a day to, to be pulled up in bed

with a hundred something degree fever.

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I'd be like, no way it's miserable.

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And that's the flu.

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I know you joke about like the

man, Cole or whatever, like.

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I was, I was, it was kicking my butt

and we're talking about the flu.

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Everybody gets the flu at

some stage in their life.

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If then you want to extrapolate that out

and say someone's had major surgery on a

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body part or they like the fusion in their

neck or their back or like ankle wrist,

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whatever, like, and they have pain from

that to a certain degree every single day

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of their life for the rest of their life.

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Like how the heck do you put a value on

what that pain and suffering is worth?

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Because the idea is that when we're

talking about someone's pain and suffering

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their loss of enjoyment of life, if

you've had a major surgery, a lot of

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doctors, people will tell you it's not

going to get better as time goes on.

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It might stay the same, but it more

likely than not, the progression of these

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injuries is it's going to get worse.

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So we always kind of like to let jurors

know and remind them that they're not

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just giving an award for, for that day.

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They're not just giving an award

for what that person's been through.

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It's supposed to compensate them for.

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the rest of their life,

which is a tough thing to do.

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I don't have a crystal ball.

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No one has a crystal ball.

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That's why it goes back to that standard

of preponderance of the evidence.

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Is this person's injury

gonna get better over time?

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Probably not.

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Could it?

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Maybe.

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But that's not the standard.

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It's probably is it going to

get worse or stay the same?

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Probably is much more likely than that.

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Not it is.

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So the idea with verdicts is it's

supposed to be just compensation.

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It's supposed to be fair.

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I think one of the things you

ask, like, how does a jury

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come up with, with a verdict?

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That's why we talk about the

cross section of the community.

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Everyone's collective wisdom.

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You might have teachers, engineers.

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I had a jury one time where the, the

four person was a giraffe trainer.

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A giraffe trainer?

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Giraffe trainer.

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We have a theme park like near us.

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You just, a lot of times, like we've

talked about, it's people who are

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retired, but you do get some interesting

professions on there, and that was

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by far the most interesting one.

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But, so you get this kind of fair cross

section of the community where one

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person might have an idea on, on, on

money, like, this is a lot of money.

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Someone else might have a different idea.

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This is a lot of money.

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And the idea is they deliberate,

like it's jury deliberations

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where everybody's supposed to

talk and have their voice heard.

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And they come up with a number that it's

All we can do and if I had a crystal ball

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and could tell you, hey, this case is

going to come back with a jury verdict

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of this, I'd be on a beach somewhere.

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I don't know, doing consultations,

but that's, there's not no one knows.

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That's why so many of these cases settle.

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That's why 98, probably plus

percent of cases resolve is because

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juries are very unpredictable.

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They could come back and award a lot of

money in a case where, you Potentially the

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case could have settled for not as much

money or they could come back and award

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0 or very little money in a case where it

seems like the person was really hurt and

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they deserved a lot more money than that.

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So it's really just trying to get fairness

and inherently unfair system as this

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kind of, I guess, dour as it sounds, but.

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It just is what it is.

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And I, like I've said, like I've been

impressed with jurors attentions,

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their attentiveness, and at the end of

the day, you just, you just hope that

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they get it right and you try and put

on the best, best case that you can.

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Yeah.

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Thanks for sharing that.

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And what's interesting about that

is that when it comes to, so now it

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makes me think, okay, there's a jury.

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right?

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As lawyers, you have resources,

you have experience, right?

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You have an idea of what these things

settle for in the past based on an ankle

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injury or versus someone who had a spinal

back injury, different types of injuries.

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As far as the jury goes to come up with

a number even, and they're deliberating.

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Where are they getting their

research from our information?

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Are they able to research

past cases and settlements?

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Is that provided to them?

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Is it on their own?

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Are they just simply having conversations?

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So it's a big no, no to

do any outside research.

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When you're a juror, the

judge will explain to you.

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They don't talk about the case

until all the evidence isn't.

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And then also don't do any independent

research cases have gotten thrown out

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where say it's like a dispute about.

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We keep doing the traffic light.

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If a juror comes back and says that

they went to the scene to try and

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figure out stuff like that's a big,

no, no, that case could get thrown out.

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And it's the same thing.

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Like Google jurors can't go home

and like Google what's an ankle

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injury case worth in New Jersey.

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That's a big no, no tip.

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So a lot of times what it becomes is just

a battle of the experts because an expert,

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uh, likely if it's an ankle injury, an

orthopedic surgeon is going to present

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for our side and they'll talk about.

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These injuries, the nature and extent,

again, not how much it's worth, but maybe

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how much a future surgery would cost.

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And the expert will paint a picture of

what the prognosis is for that injury

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and what the kind of future holds.

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And then the defense will have an

expert that will do almost always the

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opposite, that will downplay the injury.

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They'll say, sometimes they might argue

it wasn't even caused by the crash

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or the fall or whatever it may be.

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They'll argue that it wasn't caused

by the incident that we're here for.

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And then they'll almost certainly argue

that there's been an excellent recovery.

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And I get that in almost every

case, like defense experts will

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not even have reviewed the films.

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Like I got a report where they didn't

even review the medical records.

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They reviewed nothing.

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And the defense doctor concluded that

the client made an excellent recovery

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and he's got long, no longterm issues

from it without looking at a single

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record, a single medical film or what?

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So a lot of times it comes down

to the battle of these experts

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and jurors got to just decide

who do they find more credible?

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Like how much weight do they

give to what our guy said?

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How much weight do they give

to what the defense guy said?

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And that's really what these cases become.

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I think you talked about before

the evidence, like how do we

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get the evidence to the jury?

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And what does.

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Does the defense try and

keep the evidence out?

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And it's not so much that the defense

tries to keep the evidence out.

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It's that they take the same evidence

that we're looking at and they,

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they try and get the jury to reach

a totally opposite conclusion.

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Like, one of the classic examples,

a case Jerry and I tried, it was, I

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think my first, it was my first trial.

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When we were here, this guy snapped his,

I think it was his femur, his femur got

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broken in half, got ran over by a car.

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And it healed like this.

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Like the bone literally it's called

a bayoneted fashion where the bone

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healed on top of the other bone

And the defense expert, obviously

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our expert said, that's not good.

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There's calcification there.

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That's very painful.

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It's going to cause some issues.

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Sure enough, the kid was like 20 years old

and he walked with a cane and the defense

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expert said, perfect anatomical alignment.

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There's zero issues with this.

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This is perfect anatomical

alignment, no issues.

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So we're looking at the exact same

piece of evidence bone that healed on

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top of itself instead of like this.

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And our conclusion is

that's a poor recovery.

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This person is going to have issues.

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And the defense conclusion is

that's an excellent recovery.

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This person is going to have no issues.

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So in terms of how a jury is going to

come up and evaluate a case, all we

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can do is put our evidence out there.

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If there's a lot of times they call them

specials, like if there's things like

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medical or medical bills that weren't

paid, if there's wages that we can get in

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front of the jury, like those specials,

those hard and fast numbers are great.

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But the big number and the important

number, not that those aren't important,

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but the one that the jury's got to

come up with on their own is for

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the pain, the suffering, the loss of

enjoyment of life, and that really

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comes down to a battle of the experts,

the witnesses and the attorneys and

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how the case is presented and defended.

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Yeah.

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Thank you for sharing all that.

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That's quite interesting.

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And I think that most people wouldn't

realize that that's how it actually works.

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And what's involved, that's how it

actually works and that's what's involved.

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So thanks for sharing that.

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And my other question is what

happens if like, let's say a

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case does go to trial, right?

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Because they can't settle, but the

client seriously injured, let's

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say they were in an automobile

accident, they're seriously injured.

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And then the interim, are they

able to get any type of award?

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Our money to help with their, let's

say bills or medical bills and things

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like that, or if it goes to trial, is

it that the, they're just going to have

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to wait until the trial is finished

and the outcome of the trial dictates

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what settlement they got or get.

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Yeah.

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So it depends on the type of

case, like if it's a workplace

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injury, say it's a construction

case, and we do do a lot of those.

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If it's a construction injury

case, almost always there's going

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to be a workers compensation case

going as well where they'll get

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a percentage of their wages paid.

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They'll get a percentage of the

medical bills and stuff paid.

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But even though that's happening, the

workers compensation carrier puts a

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lien on the case where if there's a

settlement or if there's a jury verdict.

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Then the workers comp carrier

gets paid back like two

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thirds of what they paid out.

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So it's, it's nice that the, a lot of

times too, but what we're talking about,

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like I say, it's nice, but these guys

that get hurt in these construction cases

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that are getting workers compensation

benefits or people that get hurt in

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the workplace period, like that's,

that's not going to pay the bills.

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That's not gonna.

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Be putting the food on the table because

they're only making a percentage of

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what they would have made otherwise.

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And a lot of times too, it's people

that all they've ever done in

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their lives is work construction.

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And when you get hurt, like we're talking,

like we've got cases where guys fall

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40 feet off a scaffolding and they get

electrocuted, horrible, horrible injuries.

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Like, and if all you've

been doing for work is.

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Is construction and you have these

injuries you're not going to be getting

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back to another that type of work and

it's tough to Find a field where you

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don't really necessarily have other

skills or remarkable skills to get into

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so a lot of guys get put back on like

light duty, but what's light duty if

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you're working say as like a welder

or something or Working like concrete.

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What's light duty?

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There's no such thing really

as light duty in construction.

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So to answer your question is a lot of

times people are just you gotta wait

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and that's why it's such a balance

of You want to move these cases?

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But at the same time we've got to

make sure we have the full treatment

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picture and that we're not leaving

any Potential damages on the table.

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So yeah, a lot of people trials are very

it's all or nothing like there's not okay

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Well, we got this person Some money to

hold them over and before the trial, like

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it's, it's really all or nothing stuff.

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That's why it's so high stakes.

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And there's just a lot of work and a

lot of effort that goes into it because

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like the only thing standing between

these clients and zero dollars and

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as extreme as like potential being

homeless or not being able to feed

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their families or what is like the

job we do when we try these cases.

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So.

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It always cracks me up.

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Like I'll watch sports and stuff and

it's like insurance company commercials

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and they're all like trying to be your

friends and they're like, whatever

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little logo they motto they have or

one literal like mascot and it's these

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guys are doing everything they can to

get people who deserve to get money.

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And it's, I struggle with the word

compensation because like compensation,

349

:

it's if I get a bonus, it's wow, cool.

350

:

I got my compensation, like hits.

351

:

It's not like compensating these people.

352

:

It's like trying to make them whole.

353

:

It's not an award.

354

:

It's not, it's just kind of

trying to balance the scales.

355

:

But so you see these commercials

for all these insurance companies.

356

:

And at the end of the day, everything

they do in these cases is designed to

357

:

pay out either 0, have a jury say the

injured person gets 0 or have a jury come

358

:

back with as little money as possible.

359

:

So, like, the same way we're there

fighting for our clients, like, these

360

:

insurance companies hide behind, like,

all these, this tort reform stuff that

361

:

we've talked about, and they've done

such a good job of getting jurors already

362

:

kind of thinking that everyone who files

a lawsuit is just out to make a quick

363

:

buck, when it's like, I'm telling you,

like, I have never had a client that

364

:

would trade the injury for the money.

365

:

I just never have.

366

:

The best jury verdicts we've ever gotten,

like, the best settlements I've ever

367

:

had, that client would never take that

money in exchange for the injuries that

368

:

they've had and what they've been through.

369

:

Right.

370

:

So, you know, you people get money before

the jury decides the case, typically no.

371

:

And if it's even with workers comp,

it's not a lot of money, you're never

372

:

going to get like fair value and full

value from even a workers comp case.

373

:

So almost always there's, there's

not going to be anything between.

374

:

The trial and, and the

person having gotten hurt.

375

:

Yeah.

376

:

Thank you so much for sharing that.

377

:

And I think one of the things that a

lot of people don't realize is that

378

:

sometimes too, these trials and coming

to an agreement and a settlement, it

379

:

can take years, and I think that people

don't understand why it takes that long.

380

:

Maybe you can shed a little bit

light on what really happens.

381

:

There's so many things that have to

be done that it's, that's normal.

382

:

That's not.

383

:

Like really abnormal for it to take

sometimes a long time, especially

384

:

if it's a more complicated trial,

maybe you can shed a little bit of

385

:

light on that to educate the audience

because I think because they're not

386

:

practicing law and they don't understand

how everything works, it would be

387

:

great for them to have a little bit

more understanding on that part.

388

:

So kind of from the time of a

crash or an incident or whatever

389

:

it is is happens, the clock starts

to run on on certain timelines.

390

:

And the biggest, biggest one is that,

th,:

391

:

There's two years in New

Jersey to file a lawsuit.

392

:

And I'm just saying crash, like it's

almost any personal injury action.

393

:

You have a two year statute of limitations

and statute of limitations means that's

394

:

the time period to file the case.

395

:

And the idea is that you don't

want claims to become stale.

396

:

Like you want people to know their,

their rights and not have something

397

:

hanging out there in perpetuity where.

398

:

You know, 10 years from now, 15 years

from now, you can file a lawsuit.

399

:

There's exceptions to that.

400

:

Sexual abuse cases are a big

exception for an obvious reason

401

:

where that's a much longer statute of

limitations, but generally personal

402

:

injury, it's, it's two years.

403

:

So the idea becomes because it's

a balance between moving the case,

404

:

getting to a jury, getting a verdict

and all that, and also making sure

405

:

that we know what the full picture is

with the damages, because you don't

406

:

get to come back and do it again.

407

:

So say someone gets in a crash, like.

408

:

I'll use the example like the neck,

say their neck's bothering them.

409

:

They might start out, they

might see their primary care

410

:

physician, go see a chiropractor.

411

:

Say that takes two months, they

do two months of chiropractic,

412

:

and then it's not getting better.

413

:

So then they get referred to physical

therapy or pain management, and

414

:

then say they end up getting an

injection six months down the road.

415

:

And then that doesn't help, and then they

get another injection three months later.

416

:

We're out, we're now at nine

months out from the crash.

417

:

And if we had just gone and filed that

case right away, we probably wouldn't have

418

:

a lot of that, that treatment in there.

419

:

And then if the person's still treating,

say they, they graduate to the injection

420

:

is not working, they need a surgery.

421

:

If we've moved too quickly, that

surgery, it's going to be really

422

:

difficult to make it part of the case.

423

:

So it's a balance between giving enough

time for the treatment to, to happen.

424

:

And then there's also just a

lot of just investigation and

425

:

work that goes into these files.

426

:

Like I'm using the example of a car crash,

which is about almost always as simple as

427

:

it would get in terms of what happened.

428

:

Like you'll get a police report.

429

:

If it's a rear end hit, it's rare that

liability is going to be an issue.

430

:

Although more and more I'm seeing

people say things like my foot got

431

:

stuck on a car mat or the thing

accelerated and I was braking.

432

:

Just people giving excuses,

which is kind of disheartening,

433

:

but it just is what it is.

434

:

So as simple as something as simple

as that, there's still process

435

:

then of getting like the insurance

file, getting the property damage

436

:

photos, stuff that all takes time.

437

:

It's not like you send a letter, you make

a phone call and you have this stuff.

438

:

Right away.

439

:

It's like you send an email to a

staff member, a staff member reaches

440

:

out, there's a letter, you sign the

letter, the letter goes out, it's a few

441

:

weeks before you get that, like it's

just, everything is just a process.

442

:

So even with that two year statute of

limitations, like that time goes, and

443

:

then from the time that we file the case,

there's a lot that's in our control, and

444

:

there's a lot that's not in our control.

445

:

Experts are a huge part of any case, like

getting a client in to see an expert.

446

:

There's guys that are scheduling

experts that are scheduling like over

447

:

a year out and there's not a ton of

people that do Personal injury cases.

448

:

There's not a lot of

doctors that will testify.

449

:

So it's not like we can just use a

treating doctor so balance between

450

:

getting all the records in balance

between getting our client to the right

451

:

expert and then even when the case is

all done because We can move our file

452

:

and then the defense like the insurance

company's attorney on the other side like

453

:

they need to get stuff too to defend the

case So if they don't have their expert,

454

:

the case is going to get pushed out.

455

:

If they want to take a deposition or

something that someone's testimony

456

:

and they haven't scheduled it,

they can make an application

457

:

with the court to extend it out.

458

:

So it's, you got two sides trying to prep

their case and get everything they need.

459

:

You've got a client that's still

treating oftentimes that you want

460

:

to make sure everything's in there.

461

:

And then the judicial system itself

is like still, I know we're like

462

:

over three years later from COVID.

463

:

But there's still just such a backlog

of cases that didn't get tried for

464

:

like almost two years where I've

got cases that are like five or six

465

:

years old, just waiting for a judge.

466

:

So it's a balance then of even

when the parties then are ready,

467

:

it's like scheduling are the

experts ready to come testify?

468

:

Are the witnesses that you need lined up?

469

:

Can they come testify?

470

:

And then is there a judge available?

471

:

And even if there is, then sometimes

what happens is say, I have a

472

:

trial somewhere else that's older.

473

:

A defense has a trial

somewhere else that's older.

474

:

Then you get put back

in the, in the cycle.

475

:

It, it just adds up.

476

:

Like, it's, and, and you're

doing this on hundreds of files.

477

:

It's not like you've got one case.

478

:

Like if you could work every case, like

it's your only file, that'd be great.

479

:

But it's whack a mole of this

file's hot, this file's hot.

480

:

It's just really a lot of balancing.

481

:

So even when you're ready, like

another case that might be listed for

482

:

trial and then that case doesn't go.

483

:

So it's just, there's so much that

goes into, into moving cases forward.

484

:

Like I, I've written out over the

years, like a linear progression

485

:

of how these files go, and

it is boop, boop, boop, boop.

486

:

It's never an A to Z thing.

487

:

It's like A to A1 to A3 to A4 back to B.

488

:

It's just all over the map.

489

:

Thanks.

490

:

It's a complicated process.

491

:

And I think you shedding

light on, on the whole matter.

492

:

I think that's great because now the

audience understands why it can take

493

:

time because it isn't just ABC it's done.

494

:

And there's so many different parties

involved and people and things that

495

:

have to be scheduled and because of

also the courts being backlogged.

496

:

That makes sense.

497

:

So thank you so much for sharing that.

498

:

All right.

499

:

So Jerry actually just popped

back in and we're going to get.

500

:

Jerry's perspective on how verdicts

and awards are determined in New Jersey

501

:

and see what he has to say about the

matter, because I know he's worked on

502

:

lots of different trials in New Jersey.

503

:

So maybe you could shed some

light on that for the audience.

504

:

Yeah.

505

:

So basically in a civil case, essentially

what we're doing is we're trying

506

:

to make up for the harms and losses

that, that the plaintiff has suffered.

507

:

So if a kid's playing stickball, I didn't

know if kids play stickball anymore, but.

508

:

Stickball is a game where you play

it's like baseball and then you

509

:

swing a bat like a wooden broomstick

or something and the kids play and

510

:

then they go and they hit the ball

and it breaks the neighbor's window.

511

:

Shouldn't the neighbor

be compensated for that?

512

:

Shouldn't someone pay for the window?

513

:

That kind of thing.

514

:

Or just, just take a more serious

situation where, I don't know, someone

515

:

causes a fire, let's say someone's

negligent and they cause a fire

516

:

and it burns someone's house down.

517

:

Shouldn't the person that burned the house

down by their negligence pay for that?

518

:

And if you didn't have a civil

justice system, what would happen?

519

:

Would the person go over there

with a gun and put a gun up to

520

:

their head and say, you better pay?

521

:

So the idea with civil justice

and juries is that it's civil.

522

:

It's a civilized way to do it

without violence to resolve.

523

:

Disputes to resolve problems

where someone has caused harm.

524

:

So what we're trying to do at a trial

when we represent the plaintiff is to

525

:

basically get that burned house paid for

to get that broken window paid for so

526

:

in someone's life, they can get injured.

527

:

Personal injuries, if they're hit

by a drunk driver or something,

528

:

someone's minding their own business

and gets slammed in the rear.

529

:

Someone's working on a job site

where the job site's not enforcing

530

:

safety rules and gets, gets injured.

531

:

What we're trying to do is make up

for the harms and losses from that.

532

:

So, that's what this is about and

that's what we're trying to get the

533

:

juries to do is to come up with a

dollar amount that's fair compensation.

534

:

And it depends on the case, how

we do that and what we ask for.

535

:

With the defendants.

536

:

Typically do is they devalue

the person, they devalue people,

537

:

they devalue human values.

538

:

They're more about like corporate values,

like the bottom line is what generally

539

:

we see that corporate America values.

540

:

It doesn't necessarily value things

like love and beauty, enjoyment

541

:

of life, mobility, friendship,

relationships, things like that.

542

:

We find that they don't really value,

so in a trial, they're going to devalue

543

:

those things when someone's injured

and they can't work, they're going

544

:

to try to demonize the person and say

that they weren't worth much anyway,

545

:

and they were a bad person, and many

times they won't come right out and

546

:

say that they'll imply it with doctors

and experts and make suggestions.

547

:

And kind of tap into the worst

biases in people, or the worst

548

:

things that people will think.

549

:

So that's the bottom line, is what we're

trying to do, is we're trying to get

550

:

people fair, to make up for the harms and

losses, to get that broken window fixed,

551

:

the broken window of someone's life fixed.

552

:

And what happens if There is a

settlement, and as attorneys, you guys

553

:

think that is totally way off base of

what the settlement should have been.

554

:

Have you ever had that happen, and

what, what's the recourse on that?

555

:

Well, I mean, to get the, kind of

the, the language right, a settlement

556

:

is where the parties agree we're

going to resolve this by this amount.

557

:

And then there's a jury verdict.

558

:

The jury verdicts aren't ordinarily

called settlements, but the cases can

559

:

settle after a jury gives a verdict.

560

:

But if the verdict is too

low, you can try to appeal it.

561

:

You can make a motion with the judge for

a new trial, different things like that.

562

:

And the defendants often will file

motions if they think the verdict's

563

:

too high, or they want to try to

get less money, or they think they

564

:

can get a more favorable ruling from

a judge, they can ask a judge to.

565

:

To throw out a verdict.

566

:

So if they think they have a favorable

judge, they might try that a lot of times.

567

:

They'll just keep trying to wear

down the plaintiff and their lawyers

568

:

by even if they get a good verdict

is to appeal in our situation.

569

:

If we get a good verdict, we will

fight really hard on appeal to do that.

570

:

We have never.

571

:

Received a verdict that was appealed and

didn't fight that hard and on appeal.

572

:

So we're not afraid to try cases

and we're not afraid to take

573

:

appeals where it's warranted.

574

:

Thank you.

575

:

And we were talking earlier before you

came in, we're also talking about the

576

:

jury and how they go about determining

the amount of the award, right?

577

:

And of course they're not

allowed to Google anything.

578

:

They're not allowed to research anything.

579

:

So I almost feel like it's so important

to get like a jury that is the right

580

:

jury for that particular trial.

581

:

Because imagine if you

get a jury that maybe.

582

:

All of them are unknowledgeable

about having any idea on how to

583

:

put a value on all these things.

584

:

So like loss of, loss of wages

and having to, having to have

585

:

surgery and all these things.

586

:

I just can't imagine what would happen

if there's a jury that, that just

587

:

all, they're not very sophisticated

in determining the right number

588

:

based on the injuries, the evidence,

everything that happened in terms of

589

:

the plaintiff's life that's injured.

590

:

Yeah, that's why you want to pick

a jury that you think will be

591

:

able to appreciate those things.

592

:

And that's why you want to hire a

good lawyer that knows how to do that.

593

:

A case, some people ask,

Hey, what's my case worth?

594

:

Or what's this case worth?

595

:

Or what do you think the case is worth?

596

:

Well, a lot of the value in the case

determines on what lawyer you get.

597

:

Get a lawyer that's not too experienced,

doesn't have a good track record.

598

:

Your case could be worth.

599

:

Many times less than it could,

could be with a different lawyer.

600

:

So you want a lawyer that's experienced in

talking to juries and explaining to them

601

:

the value of human life, the value of a

happy life, the value of a mobile life.

602

:

And there's a lot of technique to

getting in medical bills and lost

603

:

wages, past lost wages, future

lost wages, future medical bills.

604

:

There's a lot of technique,

knowledge, legal know how.

605

:

To get those things in and then most

importantly, there's a lot of techniques

606

:

and talking to a jury about permanent

life changes about how you put a

607

:

dollar amount on that to compensate for

permanent life changes because dimple,

608

:

you're right, what's all that worth?

609

:

And who do you do?

610

:

Good.

611

:

Do you go to, you get a college degree in

that kind of thing and how to award that?

612

:

No, it's, it's ordinary people.

613

:

It's Yeah, and we're talking about the

value of money, like what's, what might

614

:

be a lot of money to one person may not

be, may not be for the other person.

615

:

And so Mark and I were talking

about that earlier on this episode,

616

:

because it's all what's someone's

perception of an award and money.

617

:

And it may be different from one person to

one person, like someone, let's say who's

618

:

more white collar versus blue collar.

619

:

I can see there being differences

in the value of the dollar that they

620

:

perceive as a lot of money because it's.

621

:

I, I can just see that happening.

622

:

Yeah, that, that's true.

623

:

And, but then again, the white

collar juror might be more inclined

624

:

to agree with the corporation.

625

:

Whereas the blue collar might be

more inclined to support the working

626

:

person or the middle class person.

627

:

So it all, it, it all depends.

628

:

Sometimes you can talk about, well,

what's the minimum wage for pain?

629

:

Some people are in pain and

then they're going to be in

630

:

pain the rest of their life.

631

:

And then you can calculate out.

632

:

How many hours that is and how many

days and ascribe dollar amount to

633

:

every hour and then multiply it out.

634

:

There's different kind of techniques

and things that you can do for that.

635

:

But that's what years of training comes

with us as an attorney and experience

636

:

and what works and what doesn't work.

637

:

The justice system is not perfect.

638

:

The jurors do not get it right all the

time, by any means, and like I said,

639

:

so much has to do with the judge, the

lawyers, and these experts, and you

640

:

get these defense experts that get up

there, just, they'll just misrepresent

641

:

things about what happened, and there's

a lot of techniques we do to prevent

642

:

that, whether it be sending a nurse.

643

:

to the exam with the defense doctor

or videotaping it or getting research

644

:

on the defense doctor and showing

how they say the same thing all the

645

:

time and are paid millions of dollars

by the defense industry and exposing

646

:

those things to trial and knowing how

to do it in a legally admissible way.

647

:

So there's just so much that goes into it.

648

:

You gotta pick the right lawyers.

649

:

The bottom line.

650

:

Yeah.

651

:

And Mark and I were also talking about how

there's so much involved and especially

652

:

everything that has to be done that It

can take a while to settle a trial, it

653

:

can take a while because there's so many

moving components, especially like how

654

:

many people are involved, arranging,

okay, when can the expert witness come?

655

:

When is the judge available?

656

:

All these things.

657

:

So we thought it was a great idea

to shed some light on that for our

658

:

audience because people sometimes I

see they'll put on social media, Oh, it

659

:

took them that long to settle the case.

660

:

No, no, no.

661

:

But they don't really know because

they're not practicing law, right?

662

:

So I think that only lawyers know what

it really takes behind the scenes.

663

:

All right, everyone.

664

:

Thanks so much.

665

:

And if you guys have questions, send them

to questions at jerseyjusticepodcast.

666

:

com.

667

:

Share this out with your community.

668

:

And we will see you on the next one.

669

:

And there you have it, folks.

670

:

Another episode of Jersey Justice Podcast.

671

:

If you're loving what you're hearing,

it's time to hit that subscribe button

672

:

on Apple, YouTube, and Spotify podcasts.

673

:

And don't forget to

leave us a review online.

674

:

Share this podcast with your

friends and become their legal hero.

675

:

Dive into more episodes

at Jersey justice podcast.

676

:

com are Clark law and j.

677

:

com.

678

:

And check out our show

notes for more information.

679

:

If you're navigating legal issues and

need a guiding light, or just a phone

680

:

call away, call us at 1 877 841 8855.

681

:

Again, 1 877 841 8855.

682

:

Until next time, Jersey justice

warriors stay empowered and informed.

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