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General questions about lawsuit.

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Latest post Thu, May 4 2017 8:40 AM by ca19lawyer2. 31 replies.
  • Thu, Mar 31 2016 2:59 PM

    • DanWard
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 115

    General questions about lawsuit.

    Lawsuits can be part of an accident claim. If you have been involved in a suit maybe you know some of the answers.

    I think the jury is 6 persons. Who chooses the 6 persons?

    Hopefully a jury won't decide if you are liable or not liable. If they are only considering the amount of an award  where do they begin? Are there cases where the jury somehow found out the rejected settlement offer and that is what they debate.

    No matter who brings witnesses both sides can question them all.

    If a driver's liability policy paid a % of the property damage this implies they were found liable by their own insurance company. Can they appear before the court and try to get themselves to be found not liable for personal injury?

    Any other things for people to consider if a lawsuit is possible in their own case?

  • Thu, Mar 31 2016 4:22 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    I think the jury is 6 persons. Who chooses the 6 persons?

    Jurors are initially selected from a pool of dozens or more that are summoned to jury duty from the voter registration or driver license rolls.

    From the initial pool of jurors, the judge and the attorneys question the candidates to determine if they are impartial. Those who appear biased or unsatisfactory to the attorneys are rejected until the required number remain.

    DanWard:
    Hopefully a jury won't decide if you are liable or not liable. If they are only considering the amount of an award  where do they begin? Are there cases where the jury somehow found out the rejected settlement offer and that is what they debate.

    Settlement discussions are inadmissable at trial. Revealing them to the jury would likely be grounds for a mistrial so the parties and the attorneys are meticulous in avoiding that revelation.

    DanWard:
    No matter who brings witnesses both sides can question them all.

    Yes.

    DanWard:

    If a driver's liability policy paid a % of the property damage this implies they were found liable by their own insurance company. Can they appear before the court and try to get themselves to be found not liable for personal injury?

    The insurance company's determination of fault is also inadmissable. The parties can, of course, stipulate to the liability and just present the issue of damages to the court. That's something that can be worked out between the attorneys for both sides.

    DanWard:
    Any other things for people to consider if a lawsuit is possible in their own case?

    I'm sure that there are but it wouldn't serve any purpose to try to list them all here.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Thu, Mar 31 2016 5:08 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    I think the jury is 6 persons. Who chooses the 6 persons?

    The size of the jury and the exact process for selecting the jury varies a bit from state to state and the size of the jury in some states varies depending on the which court the case is tried in. But generally the court summons a random group of the general public from various lists like DMV, voter registration, etc. The court will then pull a group of those potential jurors and begin examining each of them to determine if any of them are ineligible to serve on that case. The judge and the lawyers for each side will pose questions to the jurors to uncover any reasons why the person cannot serve. If the person is ineligible, he/she will be excused for cause. Many courts also allow each side a certain number of peremptory challenges. These allow the attorneys for each side to excuse a potential juror without stating any cause. Attorneys use these to weed out people they think will be particularly unsympathetic to their case. After the court finds 6 (or whatever the jury size is) that have not been excused those 6 are seated as the jury and the rest of  the people who didn't make it on the jury panel may return to the waiting room to see if they might get picked for a different jury.

    DanWard:
    Hopefully a jury won't decide if you are liable or not liable.

    In most cases they do determine if the defendant is negligent (assuming a personal injury case). Only if the judge has already decided that in summary judgment (very rare) or the parties have agreed on the issue of liability would the jury not decide it.

    DanWard:
    If they are only considering the amount of an award  where do they begin?

    The jury in deciding the amount to award (after determining the defendant was negligent) will consider all the evidence presented that bears on the issue of what damages the plaintiff suffered and decide what damages they are convinced the plaintiff suffered and what to amount of compensation to award for that. The judge will give them instructions on how to do that.

    DanWard:
    Are there cases where the jury somehow found out the rejected settlement offer and that is what they debate.

    Generally information about settlement offers discussed by the parties before trial is not admissble at the trial and the jury will never learn of it.

    DanWard:
    If a driver's liability policy paid a % of the property damage this implies they were found liable by their own insurance company. Can they appear before the court and try to get themselves to be found not liable for personal injury?

    The insurer’s determination of fault is not admissible at trial and the jury will not hear what the insurer paid or offered to pay. Generally an insurance company will not pay anything, however, without getting a release signed by the plaintiff that states the payment settles all claims arising from the accident. That agreement will effectively end any pending litigation on the case.

  • Tue, Apr 5 2016 1:45 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    I think the jury is 6 persons. Who chooses the 6 persons?

    First of all, there's no jury unless the case goes to trial, and the overwhelming majority of civil lawsuits don't go to trial.  Second, there are 12 jurors in most cases.  Here's a fairly detailed discussion of juror information in South Carolina:  http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/jurorinfo/jurorSelection.cfm.

     

    DanWard:
    Hopefully a jury won't decide if you are liable or not liable. If they are only considering the amount of an award  where do they begin?

    It would be fairly rare for an auto accident case to go to a jury trial with liability already having been determined and solely to decide damages.  In most cases, the jury will determine both liability and damages.  As far as how the jury does that, the typically elements of damages in an auto accident case are as follows:  (1) past and future lost wages; (2) past and future medical expenses; (3) property damage; and (4) "pain and suffering."  Each of these, except "pain and suffering" can be considered objectively based on evidence presented (although there is some element of speculation in connection with future lost wages and future medical expenses).

     

    DanWard:
    If a driver's liability policy paid a % of the property damage this implies they were found liable by their own insurance company. Can they appear before the court and try to get themselves to be found not liable for personal injury?

    Of course, and the partial payment by the insurance company would be inadmissible.

     

    DanWard:
    Any other things for people to consider if a lawsuit is possible in their own case?

    Absolutely.

  • Tue, Apr 5 2016 5:22 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 115

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    ca19lawyer2:
     It would be fairly rare for an auto accident case to go to a jury trial with liability already having been determined and solely to decide damages.  

    Any other things for people to consider if a lawsuit is possible in their own case?

    Absolutely.

    In what ways can liability be determined before such a trial that results from a lawsuit?

    If liability has been determined what makes those statistics of "fairly rare" to be so low?

    Feel free to send us any that may help us.

     

     

  • Tue, Apr 5 2016 5:48 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:

    In what ways can liability be determined before such a trial that results from a lawsuit?

    It would occur only if (1) the parties stipulated to the issue of liability or (2) the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and won on that motion. But as I indicated earlier, (2) is quite rare, and (1) is not very common either unless the parties also reach agreement on the issue of damages. 

    The reason (2) is very low is that the court would have to find that no reasonable jury could find that the defendant was not negligent based on the pleadings and the uncontested evidence. The problem is that in the vast majority of cases there is conflicting evidence on the issue of negligence. In that case, it is up to the jury to sort out the competing evidence. It is not up to the judge prior to trial to weigh evidence and decide the liability issue. That is the role of the jury. 

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 6:00 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 115

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    Taxagent:

    DanWard:

    In what ways can liability be determined before such a trial that results from a lawsuit?

    It would occur only if (1) the parties stipulated to the issue of liability or (2) the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and won on that motion. But as I indicated earlier, (2) is quite rare, and (1) is not very common either unless the parties also reach agreement on the issue of damages. 

    The reason (2) is very low is that the court would have to find that no reasonable jury could find that the defendant was not negligent based on the pleadings and the uncontested evidence. The problem is that in the vast majority of cases there is conflicting evidence on the issue of negligence. In that case, it is up to the jury to sort out the competing evidence. It is not up to the judge prior to trial to weigh evidence and decide the liability issue. That is the role of the jury. 

    Isn't liability establshed when the insurance company offers to settle. And if a settlement can not be reached then a lawsuit is likely.

    The insurance company has accepted liability haven't they?

     

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 6:30 AM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    Isn't liability establshed when the insurance company offers to settle.

    No and settlement offers are not admissible as evidence at trial.  Insurance companies offer to settle based upon a cost-benefit analysis--it's cheaper to try to settle than pay attorneys fees for a trial.

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 7:53 AM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:

    Isn't liability establshed when the insurance company offers to settle. And if a settlement can not be reached then a lawsuit is likely.

    The insurance company has accepted liability haven't they?

    You keep asking the same question over and over again after it gets answered over and over again.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:03 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    In what ways can liability be determined before such a trial that results from a lawsuit?

    If the parties are able to settle regarding liability but not regarding damages, they could choose to do so and only try the damages issues.  It's also possible that liability could be determined by a pretrial motion, leaving only issues of damages to be tried.

     

    DanWard:
    If liability has been determined what makes those statistics of "fairly rare" to be so low?

    I don't know what "statistics" you're talking about.  "Fairly rare" was simply my assessment.

     

    DanWard:
    Feel free to send us any that may help us.

    Any what?  And I have neither the ability nor the inclination to "send" you anything beyond what I post on these boards.

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:09 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    Isn't liability establshed when the insurance company offers to settle.

    No, and, as you were told previously in this thread, evidence of settlement discussions/offers isn't admissible.

     

    DanWard:
    The insurance company has accepted liability haven't they?

    What insurance company?  Are you asking a question about the details of a specific situation?  If so, how should we know?

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:22 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Sat, Dec 9 2000
    • NV
    • Posts 5,478

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    Their offer to settle is merely a business decision.  It will cost more to try it and even if they win than to pay you $X.00.  It is not an admission or acceptance of liability.

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:26 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 115

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    Maybe this will be more understood. What % of auto claims go to court because a settlement was reached?

    I will guess that it is not 0-10% and I doubt it is 90-100%. In your own experience what % would you say.

    I thought this forum had direct or personal or private messages. Maybe it does and maybe it does not. My error.

  • Wed, Apr 6 2016 4:30 PM In reply to

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    DanWard:
    What % of auto claims go to court because a settlement was reached?

    If a settlement is reached, it doesn't go to court all.

    DanWard:
    I will guess that it is not 0-10% and I doubt it is 90-100%. In your own experience what % would you say.

    You're kidding right?  That's impossible to answer.  There's more than one insurance company and each situation is different.  Some cases just settle because the people who were hurt don't want to pursue it.  Some don't because those same people have unrealistic expectations....

  • Thu, Apr 7 2016 6:39 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
      Consumer
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Apr 13 2015
    • SC
    • Posts 115

    Re: General questions about lawsuit.

    JamyeP:

    DanWard:
    What % of auto claims go to court because a settlement was reached?

    a. If a settlement is reached, it doesn't go to court all.

    DanWard:
    I will guess that it is not 0-10% and I doubt it is 90-100%. In your own experience what % would you say.

    a. No kidding. That was not even the question.           Let me simplify the simple queston again. What percentage of auto claims end up in court because there no settlement was reached. HINT: The answer based on your experience or opinion will be between 0% and 100%.

    Example would be 40% if someone's opinion or experience is that about 40% of auto accidents end up in court because there was no settlement reached (for whatever reason).   40% is 100% hypothetical and not based on anything at all.

     

     

     

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