I’m often surprised when I tell people that my practice includes over fifteen (15) years experience as a personal injury lawyer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “I thought you only handled drunk driving cases,” is often the response. I’ve missed many an opportunity to truly help some deserving people, because although they knew me through my drunk driving practice, they didn’t know I routinely handle serious and complicated injury cases involving car and motorcycle accidents, dangerous premises or products, construction site/OSHA and slip and fall. I’ve even taken on the occasional medical malpractice claim.
My experience as a drunk driving defense lawyer doesn’t limit my ability to help a seriously injured client entitled to compensation, it enhances it. Why? Trials, trials, and more trials! I’ve completed thirty (30) DUI trials to verdict this year alone through November. In years past that number exceeded fifty (50) trials. I average only 1-2 civil trials each year in my personal injury practice. Although many of these cases settle before trial, Courtroom experience matters. It matters to the Judge, it matters to the opposing counsel and most importantly it matters to an insurance company and the Jury. When I walk into a Courtroom to try a personal injury case to verdict I bring with me the experience of literally, hundreds of criminal trials. That translates into results when a case must be tried to a Jury to obtain full, fair and complete justice for a seriously injured client. Two (2) examples from my personal injury practice:
In March 2008 the three (3) defendants and their respective insurance companies in a complex construction site injury case would not increase their offer to settle from $300,000. After the first day of trial the joint offer was reduced to $200,000. At the completion of the eight (8) day trial the Jury in Suffolk Superior Court (Boston, MA) returned a verdict in favor of my client that paid him in excess of $880,000.
In December 2009 I had to try a case to verdict before a New Hampshire Jury in Hillsborough County to obtain “full, fair and complete Justice,” for my deserving client. Again the offer to settle from the insurance company did not even approach the neighborhood of fair, or even six figures. Following trial, the Jury rendered a verdict for my client in the amount of $695,000.
These people needed help, and you don’t find this kind of help in the Yellow Pages, on TV or even on a Website. You find it in the experience of qualified, dedicated trial attorney. If you can’t successfully try a personal injury case to verdict, before a Jury, in a courtroom, you don’t deserve the opportunity and privilege to help these injured persons seeking justice.
The other benefit of all this Courtroom trial experience? No Trial! Believe me, nothing is more nerve-wracking, expensive or fraught with uncontrollably risk than a personal injury jury trial. My last two settlements in personal injury cases this year were for policy limits or near policy limits of $100,00 and $215,000 respectively. If you can try a case to verdict, and they know it, the settlement offers seem to find their way to a neighborhood called “full, fair and complete Justice.”
Michael Bowser is a trial lawyer with over fifteen (15) years experience, trying to verdict, and settling personal injury claims in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.