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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
Contributor •

Take it with a Grain of Salt

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At some point every injured person is going to hear the other side of the story. They’re going to sit through the defendant’s deposition, attend a hearing or read a mediation letter. And it’s going to make them mad.

They’re going to be mad that the defendant denies responsibility. They’re going to be mad that the defendant downplays their injuries. They’re going to be mad that the defendant has the audacity to point out that they have other, non-accident related, challenges in their lives.

They immediately want to go on the attack. And that’s fine. We like going on the attack. But it’s important not to simply rail against the points made by the defendant but to appreciate that, to varying degrees, the trier of fact will give some (or maybe a lot of) weight to what the defendant has to say. To accurately gauge the value of any personal injury claim it’s important (more than important, vital is probably a better word) to hear the other side of the story.

For instance, the jury or arbitrator may well be influenced by the fact that treatment has not been sought for a specific injury. It’s reasonable to infer that the delay in obtaining treatment indicates that the injury isn’t that big of a deal and the claimant isn’t going to seek treatment in the future. There may be an alternate explanation, but it’s important to realize that the arbitrator or jury may side with the defendant on some of the disputed issues. It’s never one-way traffic in court.