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Plaintiff Verdict

What is a plaintiff verdict in personal injury law?

After an accident, an insurance claim is launched. If the injured person, called the plaintiff, or that person’s attorney, cannot agree with the insurance company to settle the claim, then a lawsuit is filed and the claim goes before the court.

How is a personal injury trial handled?

Almost all injured people who choose to reject a settlement offer from an insurance company hire an injury attorney to handle the resulting trial. The lawyer will spend considerable time preparing the case by gathering documents and evidence, interviewing witnesses and the defendant, determining the dollar value of the plaintiff’s damages, and arguing the case in front of the judge and jury.

After a judge and jury are presented with the facts and evidence of the case during trial, the decision of the jury, called a verdict, is reached. Sometimes the verdict is in the favor of the plaintiff, and sometimes the verdict is in the favor of the person or entity that is being sued, called a defense verdict. The facts and evidence of the case are the key components used by the jury to make this decision.

How often do personal injury claims go to trial?

In reality, most claims that are filed with the court eventually settle prior to a trial. As the trial date grows closer, attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant typically will communicate intensively to negotiate a settlement that meets the demands of the injured plaintiff.

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  On July 19, 1990, Rudy Cantu, a 24-year-old auto-body painter, was driving on South Cloverdale Street in Seattle, Washington on his motorcycle. As he was crossing 5th Avenue South a pickup truck, driven by Ronald Dick, drove into the path of Cantu from 5th Avenue, then stopped in front of him, resulting in Cantu slamming into Dick's truck. Cantu sustained serious injuries in the accident. He sustained serious fractures on both arms, sustained lacerations and wounds to his abdomen, resulting in damage to his liver and spleen. 
  On July 21, 2007, at 10:40 a.m., Len Briese was riding his motorcycle west on Scotts Valley Road, east of Laurel Dell in an unincorporated Lake County, California. William James Tilley, a resident of Oklahoma, was driving his pickup truck with a trailer east on Scotts Valley Road and collided with plaintiff’s motorcycle. Tilley said he crossed over the center line in a curve and sideswiped Briese on his motorcycle. As a result of the accident, Briese suffered a leg fracture, a degloving injury to knee and had to receive knee replacement surgery.
  Mr. Zamarripa, a 17-­year­-old youth, sustained severe brain damage, including spastic paralysis and a speech impediment when the motorcycle he was riding as a passenger crashed into a van at an intersection. Zamarripa claimed that a five foot high wall on the Union Oil company’s property caused his stepfather, who was driving the motorcycle, to be unable to see on-coming cars at the intersection. Zamarripa sued the city of Coachella for negligently placing the wall.