Certainly, everyone hopes to have a trial that is both free from problems and one that arrives at a successful outcome. You want your trial to end with a “winning” result, one that won’t be overturned later. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect and mistakes can occur in jury trials because they depend upon imperfect human jurors. One of the essential things in managing any personal injury case, and one in which an experienced California injury attorney can help, is being sure that you respond to those unexpected “wrinkles” in the right way. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident in Northern California, you should be sure to retain an experienced California wrongful death attorney to handle your case and provide the representation your family needs.
One recent case with such an unexpected element was brought by V.T., a widow. V.T.’s husband was killed in a tragic accident involving a tractor and a pickup truck. The husband, while trying to repair the tractor, became pinned between that vehicle and the truck. The accident killed him.
V.T. and her four daughters sued several individuals and entities for wrongful death. The case went to trial and the jury awarded a total of $670,000. However, because the jury awarded no damages to the man’s two adult daughters, the appeals court later threw out the damages award and ordered a new trial on damages. After the second trial on damages, a jury awarded a total of $9.4 million. That figure was cut in half because the first had found that the deceased man was 50% at fault for the accident.
The defense asked the trial judge to order a new trial, alleging that juror misconduct had taken place. Specifically, the defense asserted that the jury engaged in improper considerations (such as putting the minor daughters through college) in arriving at their damages figure.
The trial judge gave them two options: they could accept a reduced damages award (which would lower the net award to $3.6 million), or the judge could order yet another new trial on damages. The plaintiffs accepted the reduced award and the appeals court upheld that outcome.
In this scenario, the widow and the daughters faced a decision not unlike an injury plaintiff who has been presented with a substantial settlement offer. The plaintiffs can go forward, go through a trial (or re-trial) and attempt to secure a larger award, or they can accept the amount that is immediately available and accessible. In some circumstances, saying “yes” to an outcome that will give you finality, closure and a sum certain of compensation (in addition to avoiding the delays and stresses of a trial or re-trial) may make sense. Your skilled counsel can assess each option and give you a clear picture of the plusses and minuses of each.
For your injury or wrongful death litigation needs, contact the skilled San Mateo wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping injured people utilize the legal system successfully for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Family of a Northern California Jogger Killed by a Bus Obtains $4M Judgment, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published June 20, 2018
California Court of Appeal Upholds $4.7M Damages Award Against Utility Whose Power Line Killed an Orchard Worker, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 23, 2018