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The Importance of Defendant Likeability and Credibility

Two things that effective NJ accident lawyers will understand are the importance of defendant likeability and the importance of defendant credibility. Both can be very influential on the outcome of a case, particularly when the case goes to trial.

When the Defendant Is Likeable

When settling a case with the insurance carrier, the defendant is basically a faceless participant – someone who does not seem to have a human side. This changes if the case goes to trial, because the defendant gets to show the jury that they are an actual person with feelings, emotions, and a personality.

This can be a critical issue that changes the outcome of the case. If the defendant can foster compassion from the jury, the jury may be influenced to accommodate damages towards the defendant’s favor. This factor is especially elevated in the court proceedings, because many jurors are led to believe that the defendant will be paying the judgment out of his own pocket. In most cases (unless the defendant is an uninsured motorist), the insurance carrier will pay the judgment. The defense attorney will use this mistaken belief in order to influence the jury to the defendant’s favor. This is an especially useful tactic if the defendant is someone the jury can sympathize with (e.g., an elderly person, a young driver, or a person who works for a charitable cause).

Successful NJ accident lawyers will understand how to counter this tactic. One way is to persuade the judge to prevent the defense from implying that the judgment is going to be personally paid out by the defendant. In addition, NJ accident lawyers should object to any evidence that is likely to elicit excessive compassion from the jury. Finally, an effective lawyer will be sure to frame the verdict in a way that is more advantageous to their client. Instead of the verdict being a punishment to the defendant they will persuade the jury that the judgment is actually restitution and compensation for their client’s injuries.

Liability will often come down to who the jury believes, the plaintiff or the defendant. In some cases, defendants can be dishonest with their insurance carrier. As this can happen in many different kinds of personal injury and accident cases (e.g., medical malpractice, vehicle collision, and premises liability), effective NJ accident lawyers will be sure to address the defendant’s credibility.

One effective way is to use evidence that supports their client’s recollection of the events. By using a defendant’s earlier statements, physical evidence, police reports, or witness testimony, they may be able to show the jury that the defendant’s statements contradicts what the evidence is showing.

If you would like to discuss your personal injury case with experienced NJ accident lawyers, please contact the law office of Gerald Clark to schedule a consultation.

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