Type Of Defendant In An Accident Case

The identity, appearance, personality, and background of the tortfeasor will affect the value of the claim. If he is a very personable teacher or clergyman, who absentmindedly caused an accident with injuries to claimant, the value of the case will be much less than if a very arrogant owner of a stock brokerage firm caused the same type of accident. If the tortfeasor is a felon and the jury becomes aware of this fact, the value of the case will be raised. If he has reformed and redeemed himself in society by exemplary living, however, the jury might be antagonized by any attempt the plaintiff's attorney might make to bring him into disrepute.

The economic status of the tortfeasor is, of course, at least as important as that of the claimant. Unfortunately, some claims are settled at extremely inadequate levels where the tortfeasor has limited financial responsibility. He may be uninsured or have a policy with limited coverage and may have few or no personal assets.


A attorney representing a plaintiff who has been injured by the negligence of a so-called target defendant is in a superior bargaining position. "Target defendants" include trucking companies, carriers, public utilities, municipalities, and indeed any large corporate defendant. In operating large business enterprises with much physical equipment and a large number of vehicles, machines, and employees, this type of defendant is in-involved in accidents more often than smaller companies.

Also, statistics show that verdicts rendered against such defendants are usually higher than verdicts rendered against less substantial defendants, because it is apparent to juries that replying in damages will not impose a catastrophic financial burden on them. This is also partly due to the fact that punitive damage verdicts may in some instances legitimately take into account the financial resources of the defendant. Such a verdict may be many times that rendered against an individual defendant.


In the eyes of the jurors, the defendant, whether a corporation or an individual, may take on the characteristics of its representatives or principal witness who will appear at the trial, so that a "foreign" defendant, that is, one from a different state or even a different community, may be at a disadvantage. Before a rural juror, the "city-slicker" type of plaintiff or defendant may be at a disadvantage.


Racial and religious factors apply with the same force and effect on defendants as on plaintiffs. A defendant may also be identified with his attorney, so that disadvantageous characteristics of counsel, racial or religious for instance, may be transferred to the defendant in some cases. These are factors that can be considered outside of the nature of the case.

Please contact an attorney of the Lara Law Firm as soon as possible.