How to choose the right law firm?
Sep 18, 2019 | 1197 views | 0 0 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A trial can be the right choice, if you have the right lawyer.  Recently, in a personal injury case held in Westchester County, an injured party was compensated by a jury following a motor vehicle accident.  Unfortunately, that compensation was not nearly enough.  Therefore, who you choose as your lawyer is very important.

Following a motorcycle crash, the injured victim sought representation because of injuries he sustained as a result of a collision.  His attorney decided to go to trial.  The trial was something called a “bifurcated trial.”  This means that the jury heard how the accident happened (called liability), without hearing about injuries first.  This is a very common occurrence and is typical of most trials in the New York City area.  

In the liability portion of the trial, the jury found that the defendant was 45% responsible for the accident.  Consequently, this meant that the injured party, otherwise known as the plaintiff, was 55% responsible.  In New York, even if the injured party is mostly at fault, they can still recover money for their injuries.  The only issue is that anything they are awarded is reduced by their fault.  For example, if this injured person was awarded $1,000,000, he would only receive $450,000 because the defendant was only 45% responsible.  ($1,000,000 x .45 = $450,000).

After finding the defendant partly responsible, the jury moved on to the portion of the trial which focused on the injuries.  This is most commonly called the “damages” phase.  During this portion of the trial, the same jury heard evidence from both the injured party’s surgeon and doctors hired by the defense team.   It was uncontested that the injured party fractured a portion of his fibula near the left ankle.  The severity of the fracture required extensive surgery.  During that surgery the doctors inserted a metal plate and multiple screws.   Unfortunately for the injured party, he had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and had to immediately undergo a second procedure to alleviate crushing headaches.

Following the additional surgery, the injured party still had some limitations.  Most importantly he had difficulty running and walking quickly.

Despite enduring this horrible accident and life-altering surgery, the jury only awarded the plaintiff $162,500 for past pain and suffering and $67,500 for future pain and suffering.  This is a heart wrenchingly low amount.  The injured person’s attorney appealed, and the Appellate Court upheld the verdict.  This means that they let the verdict stand and did not adjust the amount.  Therefore, after all of his suffering, the injured person was only awarded $103,500 (162,500 + 67,500 = 230,000; 230,000 x .45 = 103,500).

It is very rare for the Appellate Division to change the amount of a jury award.  This is why it is so important to find the right lawyer.  Contrast this case with the most recent motorcycle case resolved by The Platta Law Firm.  Recently, after a few days of jury selection, The Platta Law Firm settled a disputed liability case for an injured worker.  The worker sustained a tear in his shoulder with surgery.  While the surgery was significant, it was not nearly as significant as the surgery and injury suffered by the plaintiff above.  The Platta Law Firm was able to get our client $850,000 in a settlement for his case.  A stark difference.  While each case is different, this goes to show that preparation, skill and experience can make all the difference in your case.   For most injured people, they will hopefully only have one case.  If you only have one case, you should settle for nothing but the best.

 If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, please reach out to us for a free legal consultation by calling 24/7 at 212-514-5100, emailing me at swp@plattalaw.com or visiting our law firm in Lower Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927).  You can also ask us questions through the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com).  We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.

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