The question of how to argue the concept of damages is an important issue. The jury must understand the basis of a dollar verdict in addition to suggesting a dollar figure. Jurors tend to want to pay the bills and not provide any other money. We have to explain why that is not doing justice. Here’s a brief idea of one way of approaching the problem, based in part on David Ball’s concepts:
1. YOU EVALUATE HARM BY THREE FACTORS:
(1) HOW BAD IS IT?
(2) HOW LONG DID IT LAST?
(3) HOW MUCH DOES IT INTERFERE WITH LIFE?
2. WHAT ARE THE HARMS DONE IN THIS CASE? [Non economic]
1. INJURIES [Use diagrams & photos]
(1) What was the physical mechanism and extent of damages.
(2) What are the primary consequences of the damages
2. NATURE, EXTENT AND DURATION INJURIES
(1) REVIEW EACH ELEMENT OF DAMAGES ININSTRUCTION
(2) REVIEW CONSEQUENCES OF EACH ELEMENT
3. LAW RE NON ECONOMIC PAST & FUTURE
(1) Illustration of scale of justice
(2) Law: these damages have nothing to do with need or bills
(3) That’s why statue of justice is blindfolded: whether rich or poor irrelevant – justice means money to balance harm done
(4) Jury took oath to follow law
(5) Must evaluate losses and harm done in dollars
(6) Law re damages says Verdict must be amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate for harm and damages suffered.
Reasonably: “TO ANALYZE, TO THINK LOGICALLY ABOUT SOMETHING (Webster)
Fairly: “TO BE JUST. IMPARTIAL. UNPREJUDICED.”
4. THE NEED TO BALANCE HARM IN DOLLARS
(1) Eye for eye replaced by dollars for harm
(2) Juror’s job to carefully weigh the losses and harms and translate in dollars
(3) Only when scale balances in dollars for harms and lossses is justice done
Copyright 2012 Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips