In a famous comedy movie, a major character once declared, “Nothing’s over until we say it is.” While that movie and that line were meant to draw laughs, there is some similarity between that perspective and civil litigation cases, even though the latter are absolutely no laughing matters. Even a setback as serious as a defense verdict at trial does not have to be the end of your pursuit of much-needed compensation. Your case may provide options to take certain actions in the trial court or to seek an appeal. Either way, you may still have an avenue for getting the positive result you need. To pursue these techniques in the most effective way possible, it is worthwhile to have a knowledgeable Oakland injury attorney on your side.
As an example, look at the case of O.M. (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2017-00918947-CU-PA-CJC) O.M. and J.H. were both people headed to work in the Fullerton area when their paths crossed and O.M. was hurt. O.M. was proceeding on foot while J.H. was commuting by car. The timing of this accident was somewhat unsurprising when you consider that, according to the California Department of Public Health, some 36% of all pedestrian accidents occur during the “rush hour” periods of 6:00-8:59 AM and 3:00-5:59 PM.
The collision happened after J.H. encountered a T-intersection and prepared to turn left. According to O.M., J.H. began proceeding with his right turn while still looking to his left to check for oncoming cars. Allegedly, that action caused the driver not to see the pedestrian (O.M.) as she crossed the street. The driver hit her and the impact was substantial. O.M. allegedly suffered a traumatic brain injury and a neck injury that would eventually require fusion surgery and would require her to need therapy for the rest of her life.
The defense argued that O.M. crossed the street outside the crosswalk area and that her negligence was the sole cause of the collision between her and J.H.’s vehicle. Eventually, the jury returned a verdict for the defense. When a jury returns a defense verdict, that is something that, as a plaintiff, is obviously extremely disappointing. However, especially if you have skilled counsel on your side, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of the story with regard to your pursuit of compensation.
The law allows parties to file what’s called “post-trial motions” with the trial judge. There are a variety of bases upon which you can ask the judge to undo what the jury returned. For example, you can assert to the judge that the evidence in the case clearly and unmistakably showed that the defendant was at fault and that you suffered some degree of injury, meaning that a defense verdict is “against the weight of the evidence.”
Alternately, you might also file a post-trial motion if you believe that some sort of impropriety took place during your trial.As an example, if the defense improperly inserted testimony or other information related to a plaintiff’s immigration status, that might be grounds for a successful post-trial motion. In O.M.’s case, the court ordered that O.M.’s immigration status be kept out. If O.M. could show that defense witnesses improperly testified about the pedestrian’s immigration status, in opposition to the court’s order, and that testimony caused improper harm, then that could be the basis for a winning post-trial motion.
In other words, a jury’s verdict isn’t always the “last word.”
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Oakland injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch. We have helped many drivers, passengers and pedestrians pursue their cases and get the compensation they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-2575 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
The Process for Holding a Driver’s Employer Liable in a California Auto Accident Injury Case, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Dec. 13, 2018
Southern California Woman With Head Injury After Sidewalk Trip-and-Fall Accident Reaches Settlement for Up to $3 Million, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Aug. 8, 2018