When a person takes the time to file a personal injury claim and to hire an attorney, it is because he or she has likely suffered severe financial hardship because of his or her injuries. It is the job of that person’s lawyer to not only build a case that is guaranteed to win, but also to maximize the settlement value. While there is no doubt that you do this for your clients, there may be some methods to increase settlement value that you are not utilizing.
It is no secret that juries award more money to plaintiffs that they like, can relate to, and believe. If you have an awesome client, make the most of a great situation and put forth the effort to really boost the value of his or her claim. Here are three tips that can help you do that:
Increase the Defendant’s Risk
One of the best ways to increase the value of a settlement without going to trial is to increase the defendant’s risk. A defense attorney will not want to go before a jury if he or she is convinced that his or her client will not make a positive impression, or if he or she is worried that the defendant will be slammed with a verdict far in excess of his or her initial evaluation. If you can convince the defendant’s attorney that going to trial will result in a verdict beyond his or her wildest imaginings, you may be able to settle for a fairly large amount out of court.
Objectify the Plaintiff’s Injuries
This may sound unfair, but it is really not if your client’s injuries are bad enough. If your client suffers from neck or back injuries, order MRIs, CAT scans, and other diagnostic tests to give the jury a visual representation of the pain your client is going through. If your client obtained a head injury in the accident, order CAT scans and a PET scan. Ask an expert to perform neuropsychological testing to show how your client’s injuries go beyond the physical and have the potential to negatively impact his or her life, career, and relationships. Look for experts who will testify to the fact that the plaintiff will require ongoing treatment for the foreseeable future.
This last bit is important: If you can show that your client will require ongoing treatment, it makes it difficult for the opposing attorney to control the defendant’s risk. If the defense attorney cannot guestimate a jury verdict, he or she will be more inclined to settle out of court for a higher value.
Establish Gross Negligence
If you want to maximize the value of your client’s claim, you need to do everything in your power to show that the defendant’s actions were not just negligent, but that they were grossly so. If a jury believes that a defendant’s actions were less of an accident and more the result of extreme carelessness, it may become mad at the defendant. If a jury dislikes a defendant, it is more likely to show favoritism to the plaintiff via a spiked verdict.
In addition to establishing gross negligence, you also want to focus heavily on the defendant’s misconduct. There are certain cases, such as those that arise from drunk driving accidents or sexual harassment, in which the jury is likely to award a higher verdict simply for the sake of punishing the defendant.
What You can do to Help Your Client in the Meantime
Obtaining a large settlement takes time. In the meantime, your client still needs to pay for his or her medical and living expenses. Do not try to rush the case simply because the plaintiff needs funds right now. Instead, obtain a personal injury settlement advance. At Capital Financing, we offer advances for as little as $500 to as much as $100,000. Refer your clients to us today so that they can start the application process as soon as possible.