Storytelling for Personal Injury Lawyers and Clients in Utah

03/27/2019 Posted by Jared Faerber

     People are drawn to stories. A good story is easy to remember, captures your attention and imagination, and can even persuade. Some lawyers and clients ignore the power of narrative, focusing too heavily on a dry recitation of facts. This can be a mistake.

The Power of Stories in Personal Injury Cases

     In addition to investigating the facts and law, a basic function of a personal injury attorney is to tell a compelling story on behalf of the injured client. At every step of the case, the story is presented: to the insurance adjuster, the defense attorney, the treating doctors, and possibly an arbitrator or jury.

     A good story, if it is true and authentic, provides context for the facts of the case, and emotionally involves the listener. Personal injury cases nearly always involve a dramatic story. An unexpected accident occurred which dramatically changed the victim's life. How did the injury occur? What impact have the injuries had on the victim physically, socially, and emotionally? Who caused the accident and why? Has the injury victim attempted to overcome their injuries in an inspirational manner? All of these questions raise the potential of gripping and persuasive stories.

The Narrative Arch or Pyramid

     People who study storytelling have identified certain characteristics or structures of good stories. Generally, stories contain an inciting incident, or event, which causes the character to take action. This escalates into a crisis, followed by a climax, then falling action, and a resolution or ending.

     An example of a typical narrative structure of an automobile injury case could be something like the following. A young father is working hard for his family driving to work early in the morning. Suddenly, and without warning, he is struck by a vehicle being driven by a distracted delivery driver rushing to catch up on his daily deliveries. The young father is rushed to the hospital where it is discovered he has sustained a fractured shoulder and several ribs. His wife rushes to the hospital with their young children in tow. His family struggles to accept what has happened. The young father's recovery is long and painful. There are various challenges to recovery: a surgery, missed work, and strained relationships. Eventually, the treatments are completed, but the young man, and his family, will never be the same.

Storytelling Can be True and Not Misleading

     Storytelling is sometimes associated with fantasy or fiction. This is not necessarily the case. A good story can be true and present facts in a way that is memorable and interesting. An attorney telling a story isn't trying to mislead or lie. A good attorney realizes that an authentic story is more compelling than an embellished one. In personal injury cases, authenticity and credibility are paramount.

A Utah Injury and Accident Attorney Willing to Listen to Your Story

     I've practiced personal injury law in Utah for nearly twenty years. I try to utilize the power of narrative in each case in an appropriate and persuasive manner. I'm happy to listen to the story of your injury case to see if I can help. Please call Attorney Jared Faerber at (801) 438-1099.