Is it fueled by anger and meant to punish a defendant, or based on the notion that corporate defendants have “deep pockets”? Is the intention to cast a wide net and send a message to certain communities at large? Are the jurors identifying with the plaintiff and commiserating that the accident “could have happened to them” or, is their judgement a reflection of the market and socioeconomic influences? Could it be that the jurors are not adequately equipped to determine fair and just compensation awards? Whatever the cause behind it, the impact of runaway jury verdicts for defendants—and the insurance industry, in particular—has been palpable.
Over the past decade, defense attorneys have witnessed an increase in large compensatory jury awards in plaintiff-friendly venues, such as Kings and Bronx Counties in New York. As a result, defense attorneys have changed the way in which they place value on certain body parts and medical procedures, as well as how they litigate personal injury actions, including when, where, and why efforts are made towards early resolution.