What are Winston-Salem jurors like, and how does Winston-Salem compare to other counties? Of course, the following only applies to civil court as I don’t practice criminal law. With that in mind, I will use my last car wreck case and jury trial as an example. In that case, the plaintiff was injured by a defendant who T-boned his truck. The wrinkle is that the defendant was driving a motorcycle. The injury occurred when the truck ran over the motorcycle, which caused it to bounce and almost ran it off the road.
The insurance company was State Farm. In my experience, State Farm greatly undervalues claims. In my last three trials, I have obtained excess verdicts (verdicts over insurance limits) in each case. In this case, State Farm only offered $1,500 even though his medical bills alone were just over $100,000. In fact, the defense attorney literally laughed in my face when I told him that the offer was far too low. He stated that no jury in Winston-Salem would render a verdict for the plaintiff. So, we went to trial.
I was surprised by the high level of education of the Winston-Salem jury panel. There were business executives, nurses, physical therapists, Physician Assistants and other highly educated jurors. Traditionally, that can be viewed negatively by the plaintiff’s bar as plaintiff attorneys generally feel that highly educated jurors are less sympathetic and more quick to blame plaintiff’s for their injuries. However, I don’t mind education. What I really need are simply people who will keep an open mind. That is it, and that is what I got.
Even though it was just a car wreck case, the injuries included fusion and the treatment was extensive. The jury was very attentive, seemed to pay attention to all of the evidence- including defense evidence. Ultimately, the jury came back with a verdict of $300,000. Of course, this greatly exceeded the $1,500 offered by the insurance company. I talked to the jurors afterward. They were very reasonable. They didn’t base their decision on sympathy or pity. The plaintiff became emotional during the trial, but they actually didn’t like it much. Instead, they weighed the medical evidence and the medical bills plus lost wages and simply wanted a verdict that was fair.
The answer to the question: “in a car wreck case, can personal injury attorneys get a fair jury in Winston-Salem” the answer is definitely yes.