Well how do juries come up with a jury verdict?
How do juries decide on a number $$ for what your case is worth?
How do you think they do it?
Well from our research and attending legal seminars dealing with this question, the answer is it is a subjective thing. Very seldom, if ever, does a jury use some mathematical formula to decide the value of someone’s injuries. They do it based upon what their gut or subjective beliefs are.
I once had a case where both the attorneys and the judge, who was assigned the case, agreed that the value would likely be in the range of $25 to $35,000.
That range was based upon what other juries have given in similar situations in Allegheny County over the years.
We were absolutely certain of that range of value for my client’s neck and back injuries related to her car accident.
Surprise! The jury gave the client $60,000 for her injuries.
I must say I was just as shocked as the defense attorney was. I guess you can imagine when I say I was shocked that I was PLEASANTLY SHOCKED.
Juries often reconcile verdicts by compromising what number they ultimately assign to the case. I have heard some juries add up all the different numbers and then divide by 12 and come up with the average that way. And that is the number they give for the victim’s injuries. I have heard other people say that one or two jurors were able to convince the rest of them what the number should be.
That is the insanity but also the genius of our civil jury system. It is an extremely subjective individualized thing. It is really true that two different juries, hearing the same evidence, can come up with wildly different opinions of the case value.
Probably the only way to approach this whole issue logically is to just present the evidence as best as we can and make sure that everything is brought to the jury’s attention that needs to be. Then it is up to the jury to assign a number for a medical malpractice or wrongful death or car accident case.
When I was a young attorney just getting out of law school, I once heard an older attorney being asked whether he was surprised by a jury verdict in a case. His response was I am never surprised with jury verdicts. That attorney later went on the become a governor of Pennsylvania recently. I knew him and worked with him in the District Attorney’s office.
Well I think that is all for now. Thanks for reading.
Bernie the Attorney