How We Attorneys Prepare For Trial - If You Don't Have a Theory, You Don't Have a Case

Posted By Michael R. Varble || 29-Jan-2014

In today's blog post, I discuss how we attorneys prepare for trial and how we think about your case when we are preparing for trial in a personal injury case. Chances are, if you are reading this blog post, you or someone you know has been injured in an accident and needs the help of an attorney. Well, how do we go about preparing you case for trial. I could sit here and write about the discovery process and the procedural aspects of personal injury litigation. That really doesn't tell you about what we attorneys are thinking about when we take on your case and what we are looking at as a possible end result every time we pick up your file, make a phone call, or show up in court. We attorneys are thinking about the "theory of your case" from day one.

What is the "theory of a case" ? Well, the theory of your case is what your case is about in 50 words or less. Its a sound bite, it is what we refer to over the coffee pot or the water cooler when we are talking to our co-workers or court staff about your case. Examples of this are "its the single car accident where the boys were hurt on the way to football practice" or "its the rear-end accident on the Newburgh-Beacon bridge with the tractor-trailer." The theory of your case is a description of your case that is a short hand reference to your circumstances that jogs people's memory about what happened to you. It is a way to identify your case and explain what happened in a few words and to provide someone who does not know your case a frame of reference about what happened. This theory is also what we tie all the evidence into during the course of a trial to begin to your case and to sum your case up at the end. If your attorney has a good theory of your case, it is usually the one that the jury remembers during deliberations and it is usually the one that ends up on the successful side of a verdict.

What else do we do in preparing this case for trial ? Well, after we develop the theory of your case and we have completed the discovery process of exchanging documents and taking depositions, we start breaking your case down into scenes. What do I mean ? We think about your case in terms of a story and break your story down into scenes because, at the end of the day, we are telling the jury a story, your story. We are also telling a story that has legal consequences at the end so we have to keep in mind the rules of evidence while we are doing this, but first and foremost, we have to think about your story. What do we look at ? We look at the witnesses and the evidence and we lead strong and finish strong. Everyone knows that you remember the first thing you hear and the last thing you hear about a story. Lead strong, finish strong. Who is my best witness ? Who will give me the most information, who is well spoken, who is likable, who is sympathetic, who can the jury identify with in this case ? These are all questions that we attorneys think about when we are deciding who to put on the witness stand first. Most of the time, you as the plaintiff will probably be the first witness in a case and often times your doctor will be the last witness on the stand in your case. Sometimes it could be an accident reconstructionist, an engineer, an economist testifying about your earning capacity and what you are unable to earn now that you have been injured or maybe your husband or wife. Every case is different and who we put on the witness stand and when changes from case to case. In the end, what I and every other lawyer try to do is to put forth the best story possible under the circumstances with the information we have available to us.

What else do we look at when preparing for a trial ? We consider the documents and physical evidence and what witnesses will place them into the record and when to make sure that we have maximum impact on a jury. We also look at the possibility of using demonstrative evidence as well. What is demonstrative evidence ? it is evidence like models of your spine if you suffered a back injury, a computer generated video of the manner in which you accident occurred based on the testimony of an accident reconstructionist, a computer generated image that shows your brain and the affects of traumatic brain injury just to name a few. All of these items are things that we think about when we attorneys are preparing your personal injury case for trial.

We attorneys are telling your story to a jury and we are asking that jury to believe our version of the events. Why ? We are asking the jury to award you compensation to repay what you have lost and compensate you for pain and suffering. I, and my colleagues, are mindful of your trust in us to tell your story and to try to put your life back on track again. I always think of my clients and how their case will impact on their lives every step of the way. I always think about the difficult time that they have endured that brought them through my office door.

As I always say, I hope you and your family members do not find yourself in a position where someone will need to call you the plaintiff. However, if you do find yourself to be the victim of someone's negligence, call me at 1.888.900.6204 for a free consultation. I always fight for you.

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