At the end of trial, the judge will give jurors lengthy instructions on how to issue a verdict and calculate damages for your injuries.  One of the components of the jury award will be compensation for pain and suffering.  The amount of money the jury awards you for pain and suffering may vary wildly even though your injuries are the same.

Your truthfulness, consistency, credibility, transparency and likability will influence the jury’s damage award.  A good lawyer will prepare you to testify truthfully and accurately from the first time you meet.

Jurors are influenced by emotional appeal.  Jurors will award you more if you are nice and pleasant and have a good family.  Jurors will award you more if the defendant lied or tried to cover up the incident.  Jurors will award you more if you testify openly and honestly about your injuries.  Jurors award more for serious, permanent injuries and injuries to children.  Jurors are influenced by photos of the accident and photos of your injuries.  Jurors award less to plaintiffs who are inconsistent or lie.

It is important that your medical providers be willing and able to testify effectively on your behalf.  Your relationship with your medical providers and their commitment to helping you will influence your jury award, as will your lawyer’s ability to prepare your medical providers to testify.  The defense will have their own medical experts who will attempt to disprove your injuries.  As such, your medical providers must be able to effectively explain the severity of your injuries and how they affect you.  Your lawyer should spend significant time preparing you and your medical providers to testify truthfully and accurately at trial.

Your actions outside the courtroom may also influence your jury award.  Defense lawyers will prowl your social media profiles for photos and posts to use as evidence that your injuries are not as severe as you say.  Thus, it is best not to discuss your case online.  Even the most well-meaning posts can be taken out of context and negatively impact your jury award.  We suggest advising your friends and family members not to post any photos or mentions which may jeopardize your case.  Here are a few simple rules you can follow to avoid harming your case online:

  • Do not discuss the case online
  • Do not provide updates on your treatment, status or condition online
  • Advise your friends and family members not to discuss your case online
  • Do not post anything related to physical activities (including travel) online

Activities best kept off social media include physical activities (such as sports, hikes, physical therapy and travel), doctors’ visits, meetings with your lawyer, court proceedings and out-of-court negotiations.  Any update regarding your case or your condition can be taken out of context and used to negatively impact your jury award.