What can you say in a car accident closing?
Are you able to make reference to an insurance company?
Can you even use the word insurance?
How far can your attorney push?
Submitted by New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In this case the jury returned a $336,000 verdict against the defendant in a personal injury car accident case. The defense attorney arguing that the plaintiff’s attorney’s comments to the jury in the closing were far beyond acceptable especially comments concerning the defense medical doctor. In car accident cases the party’s are allowed to send the injured person to a doctor for examination. This is allowed by the Rules of Court. Often these doctors have a very limited personal injury practice and do not clinically treat patients. They usually earn a substantial percentage of their annual income only by examining car accident victims for the insurance company. Sometimes 70-80% of their income is derived just from the insurance company.
This is a reason to attack the doctor’s credibility. In this case the injured party’s attorney attached the doctor’s bias and motive for providing professional opinions that the plaintiff is not injured regardless of what the medical records or the objective medical testing revealed. Often the insurance company will bring these doctors into the courtroom live at the time of trial because ‘live’ presentation is very persuasive to the jury.
In this case the plaintiff’s attorney attacked the bias and motive of the defense doctor and made substantial comments regarding his “being a hired gun for the “ defense industry”. The attorney did not use the word insurance or defense insurance because you’re not allowed to use that term. However, the attorney use the words “defense industry “and made comments that this doctor should not be considered credible because he earns a substantial amount of his income from this one defense industry and is likely to not be 100% bias free.
The defense appealed and the Appellate Division ruled that although this attorney was very aggressive, he did not violate any rules and he did not create an unjust results regardless of the very sharp attack on the doctors credibility. The Appellate Division also ruled that the judge’s directions to the jury were adequate and strong enough to disregard the attorney’s comments and closing and the verdict was not an unjust results or did not shock the conscious of the court.
In other words, the plaintiffs attorney was successful in creating questions of doubt regarding the defense doctor’s credibility and veracity. In other words the jury did not believe the defense doctor’s comments and opinion provided to the jury regarding the plaintiffs injuries.
Do you have an attorney who will fight like this? If you don’t, call Hark and Hark we will fight for you. We are aggressive trial attorney who can handle these issues I know how to proceed in court to protect your interests.