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What It Means To Be a "Trial Attorney"

Serving Families Throughout Garden City

What it means to be a “trial attorney.”

The attorneys at Foley Griffin have extensive courtroom experience. But, a topic that we rarely discuss is why this is important to our clients. The answer to this question begins with the initial intake. If a client comes to us following a car accident, we will educate the client regarding the three most important issues, liability, damages, and insurance. However, at the same time, we will also be starting the process of analyzing the case from the perspective of jury appeal. Because we have extensive experience arguing cases in front of juries, we are able to quickly determine what issues may concern a jury.

For example, one of our trials involved a pedestrian riding his bicycle on the way to work. At the time of the accident, the client was not wearing a helmet. Trials in New York are bifurcated, meaning the fault for the accident is tried first, then the damages. At the trial of the bicycle rider, even though we were only trying liability (i.e. fault), the jury had an issue with the fact that the client was not wearing his helmet. From speaking with them after the trial, we were able to learn that the jury reasoned that if this client was careless enough to ride without a helmet on a busy road, then it is likely he was careless when riding his bicycle. From that experience we learned to make a greater effort in focusing the jury’s attention away from non-issues, such as not wearing a helmet on the liability portion of a trial.
Furthermore, it has been our experience that the defense of many cases is handled by a relatively small amount of law firms. The main insurance company for automobiles, Geico, State Farm, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, to name a few, all have their own law firms, or a select few firms that handle all their cases. If a law firm, such as Foley Griffin, achieves a reputation as a law firm that will go to trial for their clients, this makes a huge difference during negotiations. As part of their internal analysis, the insurance company law firms will always gauge the likelihood that the plaintiff’s attorney can (a.) try a case; and (b.) try a case well. Based upon our innumerable verdicts and settlements, Foley Griffin gets top dollar offers for their clients.

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