A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to try an automobile wreck case in Barrow County, Georgia.  The case involved two different defendants, but we had previously settled for the policy limits of one of the at-fault parties, so there was only one defendant sitting at opposing counsel table at trial.  The remaining defendant had offered very little prior to trial, so there was no downside to taking the case in front of a jury, and our client wanted her day in Court.  Ultimately, we settled with the remaining defendant after presenting our evidence but before the jury could return a verdict.  This proved to be the wise strategic choice because our conversation after being dismissed by the judge revealed that the jury did not believe our client and probably wouldn’t have awarded her very much.

reconstructionI took a couple of lessons away from this trial:

(1) Venue is crucial when dealing with soft-tissue injuries- a lot of trial lawyers want to downplay the impact that the venue of the case will have on your result at trial.  That may be true in a catastrophic injury case, but getting conservative juries to award money on a soft tissue injury case can be very difficult.

(2) Credibility of the plaintiff is the most important factor in a trial over personal injuries

(3) Batson challenges can be effective, even in rural counties (we successfully challenged the defense’s attempt to strike a juror based solely on her race)

(4) Be wary of thinking jurors who’ve suffered similar injuries to your client will be sympathetic to your case