Jurors are skeptical of giving money to anyone. It seems like a handout to a stranger. And worse, jurors do not get to track where the money goes afterward. There are a lot of factors that go into making jurors want to give your client money, but I want to focus right now on your client’s mental state and demeanor. Jurors do not want to give to hopeless causes.
Just last week, I ran a focus group on a case with a woman who had severe neck pain following a car wreck. Liability was admitted. The plaintiff is on morphine multiple times per day. But instead of the morphine showing jurors how much pain she is in, jurors focused on “giving money to someone to be doped up her whole life.” The problem was that the plaintiff did not appear to be doing anything to make her situation better. She claimed to continue to seek medical attention but could not explain what kind. She looked through a list of 200 jobs provided by her SSDI attorney but decided she was not able to do any of them. And to top it off, she’s a smoker. Jurors immediately figured if she isn’t going to help herself and try to get off the drugs, stop smoking, and try to find a job to take her mind off the pain, they were not willing to give her any money.
It’s human nature. We all want to help causes that provide hope. It makes us seem like our money is doing something good and worthwhile. Make sure your client presents as hopeful. If they cannot get a job or get out of the house, try to get them to do online surveys for money or look for bookkeeping jobs they can do from home. Have them seek therapy for the changes they are dealing with as a way to overcome any depression (jurors often fault plaintiffs for not seeking mental health help to cope with depression even if depression is never mentioned). Get them to read some self-help books instead of watching TV so they can tell the jury about their attempts to better themselves. See if they can donate their time to a cause that does not affect their pain. Jurors love to see others trying to help people and put their own pain aside. Finally, either get your client to stop smoking (pot or cigarettes!) or at the very least not mention it at trial or smoke at the courthouse or outside their homes during the trial.
5 responses to “Why Should Jurors Give Money to Your Client?”
Get documentation of unwanted and dangerous side effects of pain meds,
have client tell jury how they have cut down on tobacco and what strategies they have used to quit. I agree one needs to document depression since that issue impacts the smoking and motivation issues in a jurors mind.
I suggest clients who can’t work volunteer at a homeless shelter or food pantry even if they can only be a greeter an hour or two per week. The more they like your client the more they can justify giving. As a byproduct all of these things are good for your client.
Do you think it helps if they testify they watch Dr Phil??
I do not think Dr. Phil helps – it’s akin to watching Oprah. If they bought some DVDs on adjusting to changes in life or how to stay upbeat or how to work from home, those would help.
Just kidding about Dr Phil and sorry that I show up as “anonymous”. I don’t know how to comment so my id shows up but I am not hiding.
I like the dvd idea and I do have self help books I give or loan to clients. For clients that have suffered serious loses or the death of loved ones I often give them “90 minutes in Heaven” by Don Piper. This one helped me a great deal when I lost a child.
Until this post I had not thought to have my client tell the jury what books they read but I will use this idea soon. Thanks for all the good ideas!
Very interesting site and articles. Really thankful for sharing.Will surely recommend this site to some friends! Regards,
Thank you for the kind words and forwards!