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  • Writer's pictureJessica Brylo

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know. Did you know that?

I come across this often in my practice. Attorneys unwilling to try something new. Attorneys who feel they don’t need help (which is always possible, but never certain). Juries never cease to amaze me and after over a decade in the business and having talked to several thousand mock jurors, I know one thing – I don’t know what I don’t know. Case in point:

I ran focus groups on a med mal case years ago. The woman had pre-existing health issues and died 10 days after a surgery. Notes were missing from a segment of time during surgery and the process did not go well. There were the usual contentions: plaintiff claimed that the doctors did something negligent and defense claimed the pre-existing conditions caused the issues. Pretty straight-forward for a med mal case…until we tested it on jurors.

Jurors in TWO separate groups were hung up on the fact that the plaintiff had brought a copy of her living will to the hospital before the surgery. To them, this meant she had given up on life and was prepared to die. She was to blame for her own death because she didn’t fight hard enough to live.

Would you have seen that coming? Don’t let trial be your test run.

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