What is Sympathy in a Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit filed in Georgia is entitled to a trial by jury. This means that a jury of twelve ordinary people will assess the severity of your injury and award damages accordingly. A sympathetic jury can make a huge difference in your case, as they are not medical professionals or lawyers and must base their decision on their feelings toward you and your case.
Whether or not a jury will feel sorry for you is not something that anyone can predict with any degree of precision. There are, however, common threads that might help an expert personal injury attorney determine how sympathetic your case is.
Some of the most significant factors that lead to jury sympathy include:
- How Much Damage Did Your Property Sustain? Your car’s condition is relevant to a claim involving damage from an auto accident. If the vehicle is not visibly damaged, most juries will have difficulty believing that the injuries are severe. The problem is that people can sustain significant injuries from even the slightest car dings. Still, it is nevertheless a substantial component in eliciting sympathy from juries.
- How Visual is Your Injury? Similarly, jurors are considerably more likely to feel compassion for victims whose injuries are not hidden. This can be detrimental if you suffer from an invisible injury, like chronic pain in your neck or back, cognitive impairment due to a brain injury, or an emotional injury like PTSD. Furthermore, if your injury is more severe than it appears at first, this can work to your advantage. A skilled attorney can show the jury how severe your injury is, even if it is not readily apparent.
- What is Your Personality Like? Despite the skepticism of many would-be plaintiffs, your character is vital in your case. Juries are more likely to be sympathetic and award larger sums of money if they view the defendant as someone they might want to live next door to. This usually indicates you are approachable, sure of yourself, and not overly combative while explaining what happened. Having a positive outlook on your injury is also important.
What will make a juror feel sympathy is highly subjective. However, prejudice among jurors can also diminish the value of your claim. During voir dire, your attorney can question potential jurors and choose the most impartial panel to hear your case.
Whether you’re seeking compensation for an auto accident, a slip and fall accident, or any other type of damage, a skilled attorney will fight to remove any clearly prejudiced jurors and make your case as sympathetic as possible.
Pity may affect the outcome even if you don’t go to trial. For example, the insurance company may offer you a higher settlement out of court if they believe a sympathetic jury would side with you.
The quality of your legal representation, however, can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. This is why it’s essential to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately following an accident.
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If you have been injured, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Brown Firm offer free consultations to accident victims in Georgia and South Carolina. Call 800-529-1441 to speak with our personal injury team today!
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