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Tom Vesper
Tom Vesper
Westmoreland Vesper & Quattrone

Tom is a skilled and respected trial lawyer and legal expert in serious personal injury, TBI (traumatic brain injury), wrongful death, complex litigation, product liability, professional negligence, and consumer fraud cases. One of the few NJ attorneys recognized and published as an authority on wrongful death law, settlement strategies and damages.

Tom has handled thousands of serious injury and death cases and tried hundreds of cases to jury verdicts or binding arbitration awards.

He is listed as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the personal injury category, and “Best Personal Injury Lawyers in New Jersey.” These peer reviewed list of the nation’s and NJ’s best lawyers by specialty area are selected by other lawyers and published nationally and statewide.

Tom Vesper is credited with helping change the legal rights of fire, police and emergency personnel and their families to recover damages in third party cases when they are seriously injured or killed on the job; also he has developed new ethical techniques for establishing money damages.

Member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers; Past President of the New Jersey Association of Trial Lawyers (now NJAJ); Charter member of South Jersey Chapter of American Board of Trial Advocates; Founding member of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice; Sustaining & Stalwart Member of American Association for Justice; Faculty Member of National College of Advocacy; Founding Member, Past President, Past Executive Director of Academy of Catastrophic Injury Attorneys (now ATA); Founding Member and Board of Directors of Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America (APITLA); Founding Member and Executive Director of The Aletheia Institute, dedicated to “Truth in Advocacy, Full Disclosure in Discovery, and a Fair Measure of Justice.”

Certified as a civil trial attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Author of 30 books or chapters and more than 200 published articles on damages, wrongful death, trial advocacy, settlement, discovery and trial practice, including, The Trial Notebook, 7th ed. (2013 West Pub. Co.), The Deposition Notebook 6th ed. (2013 West); Uncle Anthony’s Unabridged Analogies, 3nd ed. (2013 West); “Ante-Mortem Damages,” Ch. 20, Medical – Legal Aspects of Pain and Suffering, (2003 Lawyers & Judges Pub. Co., Inc.); “Consortium” Chapter 25, Vol 2, Litigating Tort Cases (2013 West); The Canadian Settlement Notebook (2012 BC Trial Lawyers; 2009 Alberta TLA) “Wrongful Death” Ch, Vol 2,VII, Handbook of Death & Dying, (2004 Sage); All About Auto Cases: Winning Trial Strategies (2004 Vermont Trial Lawyers Association); The Ethics Blitz, (2005, New Hampshire TLA)

Teaches and lectures nationally and statewide at trial lawyer conferences, Webinars and Video Workshops including the National College of Trial Advocacy at Harvard and Duke University law schools, the New Jersey Judicial Conference of Judges, AAJ, APITLA, and The Aletheia Institute.

Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, one of four attorneys in the firm who has tried and settled cases bringing more than one million dollars to the client.

Graduate of Villanova University with a BA cum laude; juris doctorate in law from Rutgers University Law School, writer and member of the Rutgers Camden Law Review. Served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for 23 years; 27 (b) certification as Trial and Defense Counsel for Courts Martial; retired as CWO4.

Born in Philadelphia, PA., raised in Pennsauken, NJ and a homeowner in Margate, NJ since 1973. Enjoys watching movies, shows, dining, traveling with his family: Mary Alice and their two daughters Maggie and Catie.

Maximizing Your Client’s Damages In Wrongful Death & Personal Injury Cases

Tom Vesper

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TLU New York City | September 20th - 23rd


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A. Overcoming Negative/Deflationary Evidence (Exclude-Limit-Deal With MIST)

1. Dealing With Negative/Deflationary Evidence That Dimisses Damages

2. Motions In Limine

3. Experts to Explain/Enhance Monetary Loss & Economic Value of Services

4. Trial. Arbitration, Mediation

5. Asking For Limited Instructions Re Negative Evidence

6. Bifurcation Of Trial Into Different Phases To Limit Negative Evidence

7. Using “Blue Ribbon Arbitration Panel and ENE’s (Early Neutral Evaluations)

B. Motions In Limine Re Damages

  1. Negligence Per se – “The Dolson Jury Charge”
  2. Exclude/Limit Negative Evidence
  3. Criminal History
  4. Drugs
  5. Alcohol
  6. Gangs
  7. Tattoos
  8. No Injury To Others
  9. Comparative Negligence
  10. Bifurcation
  11. Special Instructions
  12. Experts – 702 (Daubert Analysis)

C. Jury Instructions About Causation and Damages

  1. Importance Of Instructions
  2. MCJC or Model Civil Jury Charges
  3. Special Instructions

4. Introductory Instructions

5. Liability Instructions

6. Causation Instructions

7. Damage Instructions

8. Closing Instructions

D. Verdict Form

  1. Liability Questions (State And Federal Claims)
  2. Damages Questions (Specify & Itemize Different Elements of Damages)
  3. Simple Questions Are Better For The Plaintiff(s)
  4. Ordering Of Questions
  5. Causation Questions
  6. By A Preponderance Of The Evidence

E.Jury Selection

  1. Preparing Proposed Voir Dire Questions For The Court
  2. Preparing SJQ’s (Supplemental Jury Questions)
  3. Asking Group Q’s To Jury Panel vs. Individual Questions To Individual Jurors
  4. Exercising Peremptory Challenges
  5. Exercising For Cause Challenges
  6. Challenges For Improper Challenges By Opposing Counsel

F. Giving An Effective Opening Statement Re Damages

  1. Mini-Openings
  2. The 1st Minute: Get the Jury To Like You, Your Client & Your Case
  3. Using WHITE BOARDS and/or PPT
  4. Using Analogies & Framing The Damage Case
  5. Showing the “Objective Medical Evidence”
  6. Acknowledging Negative Evidence & Admitting to Some “Other Cause(s)”
  7. Tell the Jury “The Monetary Number”. . . or Not?
  8. Don’t Oversell The Case

G. Direct Examination/Ordering The Witnesses

  1. What Sequence/Order To Call Your Witnesses In Your Case

2. Asking The Best “Direct Exam Questions” To Make It Easy For Your Witness

3. Re-Direct: How To Rehabilitate Your Witness When Necessary

4. Using Before-After” Witnesses

5. Using “Character” Witnesses in Wrongful Death and PI Cases

6. “Anchoring” Damages

H. Direct Examination of The Forensic Pathologist

1. What Ante-Mortem Facts Are Important for Survivorship Claim

2. How and When is the “Time of Death” Established

3. How and When are Pre-Impact “Fear of Impending Death” Established

4. When is Crash Reconstruction Expert Needed for Survivorship Claim

5. What Sequence/Order To Call Your Witnesses In Your Case

7. Asking The Best “Direct Exam Questions” To Make It Easy For Your Witness

8. What Exhibits to Use, Create, Keep “Hidden” (Autopsy Photos) with Pathologist

9. Re-Direct: How To Rehabilitate Your Witness When Necessary

10. “Anchoring” Damages

Direct Examination of Foerensic Accountant

J. Effective Cross-Examination At Trial

  1. Preparing For Cross-Examination
  2. Google-ing & Websites
  3. Getting & Using Prior Testimony/Writing(s)
  4. Forming and Ordering Your Questions
  5. Using PPT/Video In Cross
  6. Using Reports/Statements In Cross
  7. Using All “Objective” Test Results
  8. Using Other Experts’ Records/Findings
  9. Handling Difficult Witnesses
  10. Creating & Using Exhibits With The Witnesses
  11. Hypothetical Questions
  12. “Anchoring” Damages
  13. Using Rebuttal and/or “Shirt-Sleeve Experts”

K.Handling Your Experts At Trial

  1. Preparing Plaintiff’s Experts
  2. How To Handle Direct Examination Of Plaintiff’s Experts
  3. Re-Direct: Rehabilitating Plaintiff’s Expert
  4. When & How to Use Exhibits
  5. Using Your Experts in Rebuttal
  6. “Anchoring” Damages

L.Handling The Defense Experts At Trial

  1. Cross Examination Of Defendant’s Liability & Biomechanical Expert

2. Cross Examination Of The DME (Defense Medical Experts)

M. Giving A Persuasive Closing Argument

  1. Pulling It All Together
  1. Using WHITE Board and/or PPT
  2. HOW To Start - Introductory Comments – Respond to defense … or Not?
  3. “Pulling Up your Anchors”
  4. Framing The Case
  5. Reviewing The Objective and Uncontroverted Test Results
  6. Reviewing All (of the Significant) Evidence
  7. Dealing With The Negative Evidence
  8. Implementing Jury Instructions & The Verdict Form
  9. Pre-Empting Defense Arguments
  10. Using the “Time-Unit Rule” … and Telescope Jury to Future
  11. Giving “The Bottom Line Number” . . . Or Not?
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