Cases Settle Because of Risk Assessments

—By John Merrick— Both sides get a bad rap: “greedy personal injury lawyers file frivolous suits” and “greedy insurance companies deny (defend against) worthy claims”. Neither one is true, but a few bad apples can ruin the whole bunch. If it was true, then why do 95% of cases settle? And, of the remaining 5% that go to trial, the result in personal injury cases is close to 50/50. Cases settle because of the calculated risk of an adverse result. The parties would rather have control over the result by way of settlement, than leave it in the hands of...

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What is the Difference Between General District Court and Circuit Court?

—By John Merrick — With a busy practice, it is tempting to set questions aside until there is enough time to provide a comprehensive response. But we know that our clients deserve a prompt and thorough response. To provide excellent service to our clients, I’ve prepared detailed responses to common questions so that I can respond immediately. I tailor the response to the particular facts in each case. One of the keys to providing a prompt response is to keep it simple and avoid getting bogged down by all the potential nuances. Save the nuances – “well, it depends” –...

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Think Like a Defense Lawyer – Verdict and Settlement Analysis

— By John Merrick — As a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer, it is important to think like a defense lawyer. For every case, I still put on my defense attorney hat and prepare a verdict and settlement analysis throughout the case. Below is a template I used for pre-trial reports in disputed liability cases where there was plenty of insurance coverage. [If there is a risk of an excess verdict, the analysis changes]. What sets our firm apart from most other personal injury attorneys, is that we each handled cases for the defense / insurance carriers for over a decade....

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What is a Deposition?

— By John Merrick — Your deposition has been scheduled – now what? A deposition is part of the discovery process, when an attorney gets to ask a person questions under oath. Here are the most important things to remember if you are deposed: The defense attorney is trying to figure out if a jury is going to like you (and believe you) or not; because if the jury likes you, you have a better chance of an excellent outcome. When the deposition is over, the attorney is going to write a report for the insurance company. You want the...

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Merrick Brock Fishing Extravaganza

— By John Merrick — The 2024 Merrick Brock Fishing Extravaganza yielded 3 yellowfin tunas and an undisclosed amount of Miller Lite cans. This salty crew braved the high seas to spend a day together telling embellished courtroom stories and enjoying the low hum of the diesel engine, sunshine, fried chicken, an undulating ocean, and getting off the grid. Not a bad way to spend a Friday with several of the firm’s VIP’s. We are grateful for your referrals!

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John Merrick Wraps Up First Year as Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Inn President

  — By John Merrick — John Merrick recently wrapped up his first year of a two-year term as President of the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Inn of Court. The Inn recently celebrated together at Rocketts Landing and bestowed its Esther J. Windmueller Award. The award is named after one of the Inn’s founding members, who died in 2017 following a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Congratulations to retired University of Richmond Law Professor Clark Williams for receiving the Award. The Award is awarded to an individual in the Richmond legal community who displays the following qualities consistently in both...

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John Merrick Sworn-in as Secretary /Treasurer of RBA on Law Day

— By John Merrick — On May 1st, John Merrick was sworn in as Treasurer/Secretary of the Richmond Bar Association. “Law Day, celebrated on May 1 and throughout the month of May, has been a visible part of American legal culture since President Dwight D. Eisenhower established it in 1958 to celebrate the rule of law in a free society.” (uscourts.gov) The theme of Law Day 2024 is Voices of Democracy. The Richmond Bar Association celebrated Law Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens with a special guest, Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo Powell. She delivered thoughtful remarks encouraging attorneys to...

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The Life of a Personal Injury Claim

— By John Merrick — We’ve handled both sides of personal injury cases for many years. There are up to six distinct stages: Intake: Every case starts here and involves gathering information directly from our client and relatives. Pre-Suit: We obtain information from other sources in support of the case, such as the police report, witness statements, available insurance, medical records and bills, photographs, surveillance videos, documents in support or lost wages. Once we have all the necessary information and records, we submit a demand letter to the at fault party and/or the insurance company to try and settle the...

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Medical Malpractice 5 Star Review

— By John Merrick — Medical malpractice cases are challenging for four primary reasons: There is a cap, which serves as a ceiling for settlement negotiations and a safety net for insurance companies. If a jury awards you $10 million to compensate you for harm caused by a negligent doctor, the amount will be reduced to the cap of $2.6 million. The cases are expensive. The cases often require testimony from several expert witnesses. Medical experts aren’t cheap. The defendant (doctor) is typically sympathetic. Most people like their doctor and are pre-disposed to accept the argument that bad outcomes can...

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For Best Results: Recognize What the Defense is Thinking

Written by — John Merrick —- We started Merrick Brock after working at an insurance defense firm for over 10 years. That experience sets us apart from other personal injury lawyers. We use our unique experience to develop strategies for achieving the best results possible for our personal injury clients. A few things I learned about case values and negotiating settlements on the defense are below. Every case is different, but normally, subject to some exceptions: Insurance adjusters are generally great people who work hard. Be nice to them. The adjuster ultimately decides whether and when to settle a case....

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