Experiences of a Personal Injury Trial Attorney
It is difficult for most clients to appreciate how much a trial attorney works when he is on trial. An experienced trial attorney lives and breathes the case every day the trial starts until it is completed. Despite preparing for years on a case, when a trial is in process, you wake up each morning thinking about questions to ask each witness, arguments to make before the judge, and ways to convince the jury to find in your clients favor.
Over the past 20 years I have prepared hundreds of cases for trial and the majority of them settle. However, approximately 5 percent of the cases cannot be resolved and a trial is required. Under those circumstances, a trial attorney must anticipate every argument, every question, and every defense presented by the defense attorneys, the witnesses, and the judge. The most important skills of a trial attorney are working hard to prepare for trial, and being able to quickly think on your feet.
For example, I recall on one trial involving medical malpractice by a surgeon, the defense attorney brought into court a large box of surgical tools when questioning the defendant. The defense attorney was trying to show how an experienced surgeon would never cut the artery as had occurred in this case. However, I then had an opportunity to question the witness with those same tools. I quickly realized how those tools could actually help prove my case and started questioning the doctor and asking him to hold the tools and explain how he performed the operation. I also had a diagram that was previously prepared about the anatomy of the body where the surgery took place. By the end of the questioning, the witness and his defense attorney realized how those tools actually helped my case. The jury returned a verdict for 4.5 million dollars. I would never have been permitted by the judge to bring in surgical tools to question the witness, but was given a great opportunity when defense counsel brought in the tools and took advantage of it. The sign of a great trial attorney is taking a disadvantage and turning it into advantage.
In a trial involving a construction worker where the worker fell and fractured his spine, the defense attorney called a radiologist to testify. The defense attorney asked the doctor if he treats patients and the doctor testified that he does. This made no sense because radiologists merely review films as opposed to treating patients. When it was my turn to cross-examine the radiologist, I slowly questioned him about that statement and demonstrated how he does not treat patients at all except some friends and family at his home. More importantly, defense counsel asked the witness whether reviewing prior MRI films was important in evaluating a patients condition and he stated yes. The radiologist then testified that the patient had disc degeneration and this was the cause of his back problems. However, I pointed out during my cross examination of the doctor that the MRI report taken the day after the accident never mentioned any disc degeneration, and that he never reviewed it. The jury awarded 3.2 million dollars to the plaintiff.
It takes years of trial work to be able to properly prepare and anticipate your adversary and the witnesses who will testify against your client. I have been trying personal injury cases for over 20 years and it is that experience that helps a case to be won at trial. The insurance companies and defense attorneys know which attorneys are the experienced litigators and it makes a significant difference in obtaining larger settlements for our clients.
At Brand Brand Nomberg & Rosenbaum (BBNR), every lawyer is a trial attorney with over 20 years experience in court, and we litigate our own cases. Our website lists many of our notable winning verdicts, settlements, appeals, and motions, with numerous testimonials by our clients. If you were injured in an accident, call Brand Brand Nomberg & Rosenbaum at 212-808-0448. Visit our website at www.bbnrlaw.com and like us on facebook. All consultations are free and there is no attorney fee unless we win the case.