Here are some unorganized, rambling thoughts about issues that involve our trial work.
Let’s startwith Dr. G. Clotaire Rapaille, an internationally known expert in marketingand his findings aboutattitudes of people regarding hospitals. These findings are important for damage cases and for malpractice cases involving hospital care:
- First visit the most terrifying experience of their lives
- Just like hell: confusing place
- Hospitals have instruments of torture like hell – needles, tubes, clamps, chemicals, beds that roll, red letters on instruments
- Hell: full of strange people; full of people suffering; full of mean people who hurt you; who don’t pay attention to you; full of waiting and boredom; full of unfamiliar scary sounds; a place where they humiliate you; full of strange unpleasant smells
You know about the "reptile" brain and it’s importance to decision making by people, so what’s the reptilereaction to all of this?
- There is a fear of the complex and confusing and a hospital is a complex place whereassimplicity means safe
- Reptile response: get out! Want to run – flee, but can’t. Like hell you can’t get out
The reptile rule about hospitals: The hospital has a duty todo their best because by being there we gave them our trust and put our lives in their hands.Reptile code for hospital is a "quid pro quo" reaction. I give the hospital something precious – my safety. In return I expect the hospital to give me back something of similar value: To fix me. To cure me as far as possible. To do the best they can do. If not, our trust is violated.
Note: reptiles love rules because rules are the primary way to keep us safe from each other and non human dangers. The more like hell a place is the greater the need for rules. To a reptile only Satan would break a rule in a place as hellish as a hospital and it is a strict rule thathospitals must follow all the rules at all times.
So what did Dr. Rapallie find was the code word for hospital in the minds of people? Answer: "Warehouse"!
Here are some additional Rapaille findings and ideas that are relevant to our work:
- Justice is the opposite of injustice. There is a need for closure for both sides through justice.
- Wrongful death cases:Always concentrate on family. Family means "safety, completeness, full circle, together." There is no substitute for family. The cultural code for family is "essential circle"
- Children always involves safety because the reptile sees the child as someone who is there to care for you when you get old. Any death of a child is abnormal
The psychological principle of defensive attribution is always at work. The idea that "I would never have done that" and "why didn’t he do ….." are in the minds of jurors. Jurors put themselves in a parental role at trial and apply a rule: "Would I as a parent allow that to happen" and the super parent answers "I’d never let that happen"
These thoughts apply to our communications with others:
- The first rule of communication is : Shut up and listen
- Listen attentively with concentration & body language that shows you are hearing what is being said.
- Don’t forget the importance of mirroring the person you are listening to with the same, tone, body language and speed of speech.
- Remember, nodding is a sign of acknowledgment and not a sign of agreement
- Always, when listening, look at the other person without staring. Shift your gaze ever so often to the bridge of the nose, forehead and between each eye while listening to avoid staring into the eyes continuously
Remember the basics of communication at trial:
- Engage the jurors emotionally before you engage them intellectually. People make decisions with their heart and find ways to reinforce it with their head
Use simple messages.
"When you hit the baseball through the neighbor’s window, you knock on the door and tell them you did it and offer to pay for it. You don’t wait until you are caught and then blame someone else."