When Common Sense Fails; Insights From Injury Attorneys
Two different accidents with very different results: First, a Toyota Camry driving down a very wide residential street is side swiped by a mini-van going in the same direction. The Camry was on the right and the mini-van was on the left. The driver of the mini-van decided to make a right hand turn into a private drive but did not see the Camry in his blind spot on the right. He struck the Camry on the left front, pushing the Camry into the curb and up onto the sidewalk. Both cars were traveling around 25 miles per hour. All three occupants of the Camry were injured and required medical treatment but the damage to the vehicle was only moderate.
The second accident involved a compact car driving on the freeway in a heavy snowstorm. The driver loses control, slams into the left guardrail then spins around and ricochets into the guardrail on the right hand side. The car was totaled. There is damage to virtually every part of the car but the driver walks away with only a few bruises and a little soreness for a few days.
Why the difference? How can someone be seriously injured in a relatively minor accident but someone else walk away with nary a scratch when the accident at freeway speeds demolished the car.
Common sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.” At trial, defense attorneys hired by insurance companies will commonly argue that jurors should look at pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident and use their “common sense” to determine if the occupants were injured. There is rarely any evidence to back up the claims of the insurance company attorneys but most judges will allow the argument. This argument relies not on common sense but on a prejudice created by insurance company to keep them from having to pay for injuries caused in lower impact accidents.
Jurors are instructed to not forget all of their life experience when they enter a jury room. In essence, they are still expected to use their experiences and common sense when evaluating the evidence presented. Most juries get that right but they sometimes forget and apply an inaccurate prejudice instead. When giving into the common sense argument of the insurance companies the jurors are forgetting that nearly everyone has seen or heard of someone walking away from a horrific accident. When you stop to think about it, factors such as; did the person see the other car coming and tense up or was the accident without warning and the impact from behind instead of from the side have a much higher ability to predict injury than the damage to the vehicles.
Understanding the arguments made by the insurance companies and having learned how to counter those arguments is one key to the success of the trial attorneys at Shumway Van & Hansen, Chtd. You need an attorney who will fight to get you the best possible result. Shumway Van & Hansen, Chtd. is the law firm who will stand with you against the insurance companies and work diligently to get you the best settlement possible.