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Be Aware of Who You Hire as Your Attorney

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Plaintiff Julie A. Kimble thought that she was receiving enough compensation for her medical bills. However, she was unaware that her case was worth more than what her lawyer fought for. Unfortunately for Kimble, her attorney did not the right knowledge about insurance policies.

Julie A. Kimble was awarded $459,062.50 as compensation for damages and an extra $12,744 to cover medical expenses. She claimed that she had no physical problems at first, but soon after the accident had occurred, the plaintiff was no longer able to perform her daily activities at home or at the elementary school where she had worked. The plaintiff had pain in her back, neck, and ankle. Days after the accident, Kimble saw an orthopedic surgeon that concluded she had sustained three cervical disc herniation, a lumbar disc herniation, a right ankle strain with a lateral ligament instability, bursitis in her left knee and right hip, and disc injuries in her neck and back, and carpal tunnel syndrome, all of which were permanent. The orthopedic surgeon also advised the plaintiff that surgery would be needed if conservative treatment did not provide her any relief for her pain. Still, the plaintiff’s treating physician sent the plaintiff to get an MRI, which then confirmed Kimble’s herniations. The plaintiff was also treated by a pain management physician.

The defendant’s attorney appealed the jury reward because they claimed that the plaintiff’s counsel’s opening and closing statements in reference to the defendant were “improper and inflammatory.” The defendant’s attorney argued that the trial judge’s failure to intervene was “plain error.” The statements made by the plaintiff’s attorney about the accident such as, the defendant “comes out” of a side street, which made it seem as if the defendant following the stop sign, and then “doesn’t make the turn in time,” led to the collision. The defense also argued that the jury’s verdict was “excessive”, using the automobile insurance policies as his basis.

After reviewing the case, the appellate judge affirmed the original verdict. If the defendant wanted to claim that the plaintiff’s counsel made “inflammatory” statements to inflame the jury, the defendant’s counsel should have objected. It is not the judge’s job to object to “inflammatory” statements that which the defense claimed it was used to empathize with the jury.

The plaintiff proved that she had been suffering major injuries due to the accident that had occurred. The plaintiff has a right to seek medical expenses to cover for medical treatments and the costs of seeing various doctors. Her medical expenses are “reasonable and necessary” because of the severity of her injuries. The damages that were rewarded to the plaintiff were meant to compensate the plaintiff for her inability to perform everyday activities. The verdict was not excessive because the reward was proportionate to her medical bills for her injuries that resulted from the accident, required treatments and surgery. The automobile policies that the defendant’s attorney depended on were inadmissible in court because of the economic loss that Kimble suffered.

Having an attorney who is familiar with both the rules of court and the law regarding personal injuries awards is something that you need to strongly consider before you hire an attorney. In this case talked about above, although the Appellate Judge found the statements made by the attorney to be harmless in this particular case, however it may not always be the case. Inflammatory statements could have a negative impact on the outcome of the case which can range from a decrease in the amount of money you were awarded to an Appellate Judge vacating the jury award to remanding the case for a new trial.  As you can see, hiring the right attorney to represent you in Court is an important decision because failure to do so could have an extremely negative and detrimental effect on your case.


Joseph M. Ghabour
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Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.
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