Some high-profile civil lawsuits end with juries awarding substantial judgments. Eight-figure awards can take place and garner media attention. Those filing a personal injury claim against another party in a Missouri civil court might wonder why some juries award large sums while others award lower amounts. Ultimately, several factors contribute to why the jury determines specific awards.
Jury considerations when making awards
Personal injury lawsuits focus on losses. When someone establishes $22,000 in property damage due to another person’s negligent behavior, the jury may find that $22,000 in compensation seems equitable. The same could be the case when establishing injuries will lead to six months of missed work. The jury might compensate the person for those six months and, possibly, additional money for future lost wages. Perhaps the injury impacts the plaintiff’s future earning potential.
The jury may consider other factors, such as loss of companionship, guidance, and more with wrongful death lawsuits. Punitive damages could come into play as well. A violent assault or a death caused by willful intoxicated driving may open doors for significant punitive damages. Large punitive awards might deter others from engaging in the same behavior.
Establishing losses in court
Juries rely on evidence to arrive at decisions and awards. Strong eyewitness statements and unambiguous video footage are examples of evidence that might sway a jury in a personal injury case.
Compelling evidence may move a defendant to settle, hoping to avoid a larger jury award. Sometimes, the defendant might carry liability insurance that covers negligence. An insurance settlement might be preferable to a lengthy trial in some cases. Both lawsuit and insurance settlements may require intense negotiations.