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In a personal injury case, does an attorney request a specific dollar amount from the jury ?

Framingham, MA |

I heard that one does not sue for a specific dollar amount in a personal injury case. Instead, the jury hears the evidence and then collectively decides upon a value. But how does a jury assign a monetary value if they have no basis for comparison? For example, a TBI case generally commands 6 figures (or close to it), but a jury may not know this and award far less. Also, are jurors made aware of medical liens which could substantially reduce the net amount received by the plaintiff? How will a jury know what each case (injury) is worth if there is no specific dollar amount requested?

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

Many states do not require dollar values to be listed in a summons and complaint. However, when it comes to trial it is all a matter of style for the attorney. The downside to not asking for specific amounts is that the defense usually does and you have to give the jury some guidance on this very important issue.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

Posted

This is the topic of a full day cle; if not longer. Depending upon the jurisdiction, numbers may be mentioned. Is this a general inquiry or do you have an attorney? Did you post on your tbi injury a couple of days ago?

Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff www.nyelderinjurylaw.com

Asker

Posted

Yes, it's me again. Just wondering about juries should I decide to go to court. I assume "cle" is continuing legal education. Thanks for responding.

Jeffrey Mark Adams

Jeffrey Mark Adams

Posted

Continuing legal education - yes. Please don't try a case, particularly brain injury, without a qualified attorney. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

My attorney is extremely qualified and successful. Almost to much so, as he usually selects cases far more severe than mine. Unfortunately for him I recovered well--go figure! He wants to settle because the potential award in court is, frankly, not big enough and there are referring attorneys involved. Maybe I should have picked a hungrier attorney...

Jeffrey Mark Adams

Jeffrey Mark Adams

Posted

Sorry for your plight

Asker

Posted

No worries. I'm one of the lucky ones that lived to tell the tale! ;-)

Posted

The lawyer argues the damages in the case. TBI cases can command six figures, but that is not a given. Some are worth more, some are worth less and some the jury gives nothing at all. It sounds like you may have a lawyer., so discuss these issues with him/her. The jury decides how much a case is worth, that is why jury trials carry uncertainty. Speak to a lawyer in your State about this.

You should consult an attorney in your State at once. This response does not constitute legal advise outside the State Of Michigan and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship with our offices. It is for informational use only of the general laws in the State of Michigan, only. To retain our offices, you need to sign a contingency contract with us. We do offer free consultations and we can refer clients to lawyers in your State if you call us. Visit our webpage and tell us what you think. www.schnitzerlaw.net

Asker

Posted

Thanks for a dose of reality.

Bret A. Schnitzer

Bret A. Schnitzer

Posted

I hope it wasn't bitter

Bret A. Schnitzer

Bret A. Schnitzer

Posted

I hope it wasn't bitter

Bret A. Schnitzer

Bret A. Schnitzer

Posted

I hope it wasn't bitter

Bret A. Schnitzer

Bret A. Schnitzer

Posted

I hope it wasn't bitter

Posted

It is too bad that we could not call
judges or lawyers as expert witnesses to
evaluate the plaintiff ’s claims and give
you their opinions as to what the case is
worth. That is not done in these types of
cases. You have to draw on your own experience
to determine what a case like this is
worth.
. You should not be afraid to use your own figure
and state it three or four times. By
doing this, you will become more comfortable
with it, and so will the jury.
You should repeat this argument again in
your rebuttal. Remind jurors that the
amount your client is asking for is fair
and reasonable when compared to what
jurors usually award in similar cases.

The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Asker

Posted

I completely share your opinions!!!!! Perhaps lawyers should have some kind of state-wide "verdict database" so they can request an amount that is comparable to what is typically awarded (the average), plus or minus, depending on the circumstances. Of course, there will be outliers. Well spoken, thank you!

Posted

Under Massachusetts law it is improper to state an "ad damnum" or dollar amount demand in the complaint filed in state court. However, at the same time, a civil action cover sheet is filed in district or superior court in which itemized amounts of special damages must be set forth, for line items such as hospital bills, lost wages and that type of specific damage.

As to what is allowed in final argument, one must be careful as certain arguments are entirely improper and could lead to a corrective instruction from the bench which would be damaging, or worse. This is one of those area in which the skills of a trial attorney are sought by anyone serious about their personal injury claim.

Law Offices of Andrew D. Myers, North Andover, MA & Derry, NH provide answers for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be given by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, thoroughly familiar with the area of the law in which your concern lies. This creates no attorney-client relationship.

Posted

What you have heard is correct - you can't sue for a specific dollar amount. Each case, however, has its own individual value and you cannot rely on other cases as bench marks for yours. There are various types of evidence that an attorney can put in front of the jury in an attempt to quantify a client's injury, but you are still at the mercy of the jury.

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