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Robert Hall is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in Virginia and is a coauthor of Grief and Loss: Identifying and Proving Damages in Wrongful Death Cases. In this interview, Hall walks listeners through the different methods lawyers need to apply in order to accurately represent families that have sustained sudden, traumatic losses.
His strategies will improve your trial outcomes by helping you connect with those who have lost what is most important to them and to convince a jury to assign adequate value to that loss. To be successful in these cases, you need to humanize the grieving family and make the jurors feel as if they wish they could have known the deceased. Over the course of the interview, Hall offers examples from past cases and shares insights on topics such as:
- Debunking the myth that grief has a timeline
- How individuals grieve differently
- A death in the family is a death of the family
- Understanding the family dynamic and the role everyone played prior to the death and how the death has impacted everyone
- How to enter a family’s grieving process
- The symbolic importance of money/damages
- How to use a grief therapist as an expert witness
- How to research different kinds of loss
Hall also takes on listener questions on a variety of topics, like the following:
- How to introduce a grief counselor’s testimony when you cannot obtain damages for grief
- The best ways to exemplify grief through testimony rather than through visuals
- Recommendations for maximizing damages
- How to connect to beneficiaries
- How to address counselors or therapists who bring up past issues that could hurt your case
- Techniques to use after demonstrating grief and computing it to damages
- How to address the grief and loss component in voir dire and your opening statement
- How to debunk the jury’s preconceived notions on grief and damages
- Relating grief and loss components to personal injury cases
- What to say to jurors during closing to help them put a figure on the damages
- What’s the best way to utilize jury consultants to get an adequate reward
- How to counter the notion that survivors are relieved of a burden
- The best way to connect with grief counselors
- Do you have surviving spouses testify or leave it up to others to express the loss?
- How to put yourself in your client’s shoes prior to the trial
- What can you do to maximize the value of the case if the family does not want to testify?
Survivors aren’t seeking money to prove a point or get even, in the American legal system it’s simply their only option. This lecture will help you empathize with a grieving family and navigate these emotional cases effectively in order to get the most for your clients.
*This interview was originally offered to customers as part of our Trial Guides LIVE Fireside Chat series. The content has been re-mastered and edited for brevity and clarity.