Type Of Plaintiff In An Accident Case

The plaintiff's personality and background will affect the value of the case. Will he make a good impression on the jury at the trial? Does she have anything in his background that the opposing side might utilize to prejudice the jury against her? Is he a church-going man? Does he devote time to community service? Did she serve on the military? These are the questions that should be asked at the first consultation with a client.


The mild-mannered, affable claimant is more likely to receive favorable attention from the jury than the belligerent, sullen, or sarcastic person. In this connection, however, counsel should take into account that medical and psychiatric evidence may establish that the accident or incident itself created personality changes. In such instances, the unfavorable personality changes can lead to a higher verdict for plaintiff.


The plaintiff's occupation may be relevant in evaluating his claim. A young married man with a family, a college student, a hardworking wage earner, or a schoolteacher may expect better treatment from the jury than a police officer, a banker or collection agent, or other individuals with whom members of the jury may have had unfavorable experiences. Further, marital status is of significance in evaluating the plaintiff's case. Jurors view a family man as generally more responsible than an unmarried man.


The age of the principal parties is likewise an important factor. Loss to an aged person may be a major catastrophe, but elderly persons stand in a poorer bargaining position from a settlement standpoint than youths . This is partly because they cannot claim the same earnings loss that a wage earner can and partly because they do not have the same life expectancy.


The character and emotional makeup of the plaintiff should be carefully evaluated by both sides before settlement negotiations are undertaken. If the claimant is likely to be goaded into an angry display on the witness stand or is excitable, easily flustered, or likely to break down, this factor should be taken into account in any settlement offer made. Counsel should at this stage frankly assess his client's ability to understand and answer questions intelligibly .