When is the story more important than the medicine?

Once upon a time…

There were two medical malpractice cases.  Both defense attorneys believed the medicine was probably “too complicated” for the jury to understand.  As a result, Defense Attorney A spent too much time educating the jury on the medicine, while Defense Attorney B told the story of how the doctor tried to do his best for the patient, even if there was an adverse outcome.

In post-trial interviews, one jury could easily repeat the “defense theme,” making it clear they understood the story told by Defense Attorney B.
 
Based on our research, we know that jurors analyze the merits of the case based on their own expectations and personal life experiences.  So, while explaining the medicine may be important, it is only helpful if it persuades the jury that your theme is in line with their experiences and expectations.  Therefore, selling and telling your story is the most essential strategy a defense attorney can use at trial.

Bottom line: prior to trial, ask your defense counsel, “What is the defense theme?”  Also ask, “What is the story you want to tell?”  Being prepared for trial means having answers to both of these questions.

And, all can live happily ever after

Larry Waranch

Larry Waranch

Larry Waranch is an AV rated trial lawyer and a founding partner of Waranch & Brown. His practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice defense, medical licensure matters, administrative defense and general liability.
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