Any day you get served with a lawsuit is not a good day for your business. By taking immediate action and an active defense role, we increase our clients’ chances of achieving the best possible outcome, as the following case study illustrates.
Archer Norris partner Sharon Collier represented a national poultry producer and its driver in an admitted liability personal injury case involving a collision between our driver’s 18-wheeler and plaintiff’s vehicle.
Plaintiff incurred about $34,000 in past medical expenses and claimed she would need a future cervical fusion surgery. When the lawsuit was first filed, Sharon served a $10,000 CCP 998 settlement offer. When the case did not resolve at the Mandatory Settlement Conference shortly before trial, she served a $20,000 CCP 998 settlement offer.
Proactive Defense Sways Jury
The plaintiff demanded too much money to settle, so the case went to trial. During trial, Sharon convinced the court to exclude and eliminate plaintiff’s claims for future medical expenses and about half of the past medical expenses because plaintiff had failed to present sufficient evidence to support the claims. She then persuaded the jury that plaintiff was not as badly injured as claimed. The jury awarded plaintiff $6,371.14 in past medical expenses and nothing for pain and suffering.
Client Considered Prevailing Party
Because the jury award was less than settlement offers, our clients will be considered the prevailing parties entitled to recover defense costs and expert fees, which exceed the amount of the jury award.
Implications – A Strong Trial Reputation Can Help Resolve Conflicts
This case study highlights how skillful and thorough trial preparation develops facts which can either lead to early settlement or be used decisively at trial. Litigation can impact business on many levels, and hiring a lawyer with strong trial experience can tip the balance in your favor. Every case is different.