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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
Contributor •

Suprises at Trial

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Each day at trial is filled with highs and lows. No matter how well orchestrated the trial, inevitably, there are surprises and set backs. Surprises and setbacks can come as a result of malfunctioning technology, unfortunate rulings from the bench or surprises originating from opposing counsel.

Sometimes parties to a lawsuit hold on unrealistic expectations about what a trial should look like. These expectations are often formed by their experience watching TV. Television producers have the luxury of scripting what witnesses will say, what questions will be posed to them, how the court will decide evidentiary issues and ultimately how the jury will vote.

Unfortunately, personal injury attorneys do not have this luxury and can only prepare one side of the case. They cannot determine how the judge will rule on evidentiary issues or what questions will be posed by or answers given by opposing counsel and parties. As a result, trials are relatively uncertain creatures and even with significant preparation surprises abound.

Because it is never sure who will prevail at a trial, there is a significant benefit – if certainty is valued – in resolving cases before trial. Settlement is an agreement that is reached by both sides and provides a level of certainty that trial does not.