Should You Ask for an Amount in Opening?

Paul Luvera discusses a tough issue for Plaintiff’s lawyers: do you clue the jury in during your opening statement how much you will ask for in closing? I struggle with this and often opt for a middle ground. I lay out the foundation of what I will ask for: medical bills, wages, and the formula I think is appropriate (x per day for the rest of her life). This way, I’m getting them used to the idea without having to spit out a number with no evidence.amount opening statement

As Paul points out, a one size fits all rule is difficult because each case depends on different facts. One critical question has to be considered: is the cap an issue? If what you have is a cap case and minimal or no economic damages, you can dial back on the damages argument which might help you avoid the risk of losing credibility. Because every time you ask for money – which is what a plaintiffs’ lawyer does by definition – you do lose some measure of credibility with a jury.

One issue in this post – raising the damage amount in voir dire – is not of much interest to Maryland personal injury lawyers because our voir dire is so ridiculously limited.

Paul also points out that David Ball feels pretty strongly about putting up a number in the opening. Which is reason enough to consider it in every case.

I’m sorry the link back to this blog is broken.

Contact Information