Circuit Court of St. Louis County, January 16-18, 2018
Case tried by Chris Finney and Craig Schlapprizzi
Taking the Call and Jumping to Action
Our firm recently (January 2018) tried a case of a pedestrian being struck by a car in St. Louis County. We were asked to come into the case late, after much of the work had been done.
We’ve done this before and what we like to do is immediately sit down with the client. Fortunately, we were able to do that in this case. She was a super nice lady that had gone through quite an ordeal. She had been struck by a car, causing her leg to break in two places. She didn’t have surgery and has admirably dealt with the injury and circumstances. I now consider her a friend.
I have a few takeaways about the case that I’d like to share.
Things Aren’t Always as They Seem
First, the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” comes to mind. For the uninformed, this case looked like a very bad one for our client. She was crossing outside a crosswalk and at night. The driver claimed he couldn’t see her. Most lawyers wouldn’t give our client a chance —we did. But we wanted to know why she was crossing at that point. She explained to us—she takes the bus and needs to be at the well-lit bus stop. The bus stop that is close to her has no lighting and the bus routinely drives right past her. We asked about crosswalks. Turns out there are none in the area. We had a client who was being forced to make a decision that put her at danger. She didn’t have any other options. Never judge a book by its cover.
Clients Deserve a Chance to Be Heard
So with that info, we pursued the case. We never made a demand of the insurance company. They were not going to listen anyway. We tried the case with our co-counsel Craig Schlapprizzi. And our client told her story. The jurors heard her. They understood. They cared about her and they gave us a verdict. It was not a huge verdict but it validated our client’s position and placed value on her damage. She did the best she could with what she had.
Be Honest About the Facts and Let the Jury Decide
The jurors spent hours diligently deliberating. It was an amazing experience—the jury system working as it was supposed to. A jury of regular citizens, hearing facts, making decisions and rendering a verdict that places real value on a person’s damages. This is how it should work and how it does work. The jury system is one of our most valuable rights. We should never give it up.