How Juries Influence The Nature of An Out-of-Court Settlement

Both insurance companies and personal injury lawyers realize that a jury makes the final decision, once a lawsuit gets pursued in a courtroom setting. Consequently, both insurance companies and injury lawyers in Kitchener have an interest in the ways that a jury can influence the nature of an out-of-court settlement.

What factors could affect the jury’s decision?

The jury’s understanding of the degree to which either of the opposing parties contributed to occurrence of the accident, or to creation of the accident-related injury. If members of the jury were to serve in a courtroom in a jurisdiction that followed the pure comparative negligence principle, then the plaintiff might not receive a single cent.

The possible existence of damage caps: Those would limit the size of any award that the jurists might want to give the plaintiff in a personal injury case. A record of the jury’s decision would probably not make mention of those particular caps. The existence of sources for collateral payments: Technically, the jury should not have any information on such payments. Still, if it had gained some insight into the size of such payments, then that might have influenced the jury’s decision.

Future damage awards that must be expressed in terms of a present value: This influence must emerge following the completion of complex calculations. Consequently, this seldom qualifies as a strong influence.

The judge’s role

The judge does have some ability to determine what a jury hears, and what amount of money it might award to a plaintiff in a personal injury case. Yet, insurance companies have no control over what judge might hear a given case. On the other hand, lawyers do have some control over what judge gets to hear a given personal injury case. A good attorney tries to present a client’s case before a judge that should be sympathetic towards the plaintiff.

Moreover, an attorney has some ability to select the judge that could shape the jury’s decision in a personal injury case. That fact helps to highlight one of the reasons that it pays to hire a lawyer. A lawyer’s experience allows him or her to appreciate the factors that might sway the judge to act in one fashion, or in an alternate fashion. Court records reveal a good bit about the factors that influenced the jury. An attorney’s experience contributes to the insight that allows the experienced attorney to place a client’s case before the ideal judge.

An insurance company has no good and legal way to keep a lawyer from making that particular move. Thus, insurance companies prefer to settle outside the walls of a courtroom. An insurer’s representatives have more control over the influences that exist in that particular location.