Have you ever heard the phrase “half of winning is just showing up”? It can apply to athletics, but also to legal cases.
It is not uncommon for Herndon lawyer Doug Landau to hear this question when first meeting a client:
“What are my chances of winning? “
At the first meeting with a client, before the medical records or other evidence have even been reviewed, Landau often responds that he’s unable to give odds until he has all the information necessary to do so.
However, he does give clients this piece of information:
If you do not show up for your hearing or a case, you’re almost certain to lose.
Landau has had a Workers’ Compensation hearing where the other side’s lawyer did not appear, and the judge ruled from the bench that lawyer Landau won the case for his client!
Landau also advises his clients that very rarely will a judge make his or her decision from the bench such that the client knows whether he has won or lost on the day of trial. Usually in federal disability cases and Workers’ Compensation claims, the judge will end the trial with a statement like the following:
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. The record is now closed, you will get my written decision in the mail.
If there is evidence still needed to render a final decision, the judge may say something like this:
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. The record is left open for two weeks for the receipt of Dr. Jones’ medical reports, and thereafter it will be closed and my decision will then be written and sent to you in the mail.
This then leads to arguably hardest part of the process for Doug Landau: the waiting!
Waiting for the judge’s written decision in Social Security disability cases, Workers’ Compensation cases, and for rulings on motions in personal injury cases in the circuit and federal courts sometimes takes a very long time. Landau, like his many clients all over the country, does not like to wait for the result. Even waiting for a jury to come back with a verdict for an injured client can seemingly make time stand still!
So Landau advises clients that it is imperative they and their witnesses always show up.
Why We Sometimes Subpoena a Witness
If there’s any question as to whether or not a witness — even a friendly witness — will come to court, Landau’s team will issue a subpoena for his or her attendance. That way, if the witness fails to show after being served with a valid subpoena, the court can order the trial to continue on a different day when the witness’ presence can be procured. Otherwise, if there is a family witness who promises to come to court but is a “no-show”, and there is no subpoena served for his or her attendance, there’s nothing Landau can do to get a continuance or other relief from the court.
That is why you often hear the expression in the context of sports competition, “half of winning is just showing up. ” While the percentage may be different, the general idea is the same. If you want to lose your case, don’t show. If you want to impair your lawyer’s ability try your case, then see to it that your witnesses all “no show.”
Herndon Reston area lawyer Doug Landau suggests not only do you show up, with your witnesses, but that you get to the courthouse early in case there have been other cancellations and the judge wants to hear you sooner than scheduled. Even better, says Landau, is to do a “scouting trip”and see where the courthouse and court room are that you will be using, so that your day in court is not the first time you have been there. You don’t want your family members’ “day” “to be their very first time at the particular courthouse where their all-important case will be heard .
If you or someone you know has been injured and there are questions as to what laws apply, email or call Abrams Landau, Ltd. at once (703-796-9555). We also invite you to see Doug Landau in action, trying cases and hearings. Contact our office for his upcoming schedule.