Monday, February 1, 2010

Westmoreland Jury Verdicts- Part II

Westmoreland Jury Verdict

A review of Jury Verdicts in Westmoreland County, PA

As indicated in my first post here, Westmoreland County publishes civil jury verdicts on this site.

Below is a summary of the Westmoreland, PA Jury Verdict results for 2007:

1. Medical Malpractice- Defense
2. Motor Vehicle- Defense
3. Motor Vehicle- Defense
4. Motor Vehicle- Defense
5. Negligence (Hospital)/Wrongful Death- $102,000.00
6. Negligence (Premises Liability)- $50,000.00
7. Negligence (Premises Liability) – Defense
8. Motor Vehicle- Defense
9. Breach of Contract- $79,671.34
10. Motor Vehicle- Defense
11. Medical Malpractice- Defense
12. Motor Vehicle- Defense
13. Breach of Contract- Defense
14. Motor Vehicle- Defense
15. Breach of Contract- $1,283,320.00
16. Unjust Enrichment for Services Rendered- $65,000.00
17. Medical Malpractice- Defense
18. Negligence (Premises Liability)- Defense
19. Breach of Contract- Defense
20. Motor Vehicle- $900.00
21. Motor vehicle- $7,500.00
22. Breach of Contract- Defense

Key Takeaways:

- The statistics, from a Plaintiff's perspective, for 2007 were more grim than those of 2008. Though all of the verdict results for 2009 have not yet been published, I am under the impression that 2009 had even better Plaintiff-sided results. Hopefully this trend will continue.

- There was not one motor vehicle award greater than $7,500.00

- There was not one medical negligence verdict for the Plaintiff

Increased verdicts for Plaintiffs do two things:

1. Demonstrate that jury pools have not been as biased/compromised by insurance company campaigns as many have speculated; and

2. Improve the chances of Plaintiffs receiving settlements more in line with the injuries that they have suffered.

Increased Plaintiff's awards create a Sword of Damocles of sorts for insurance companies. The risk of being hit with a jury verdict is the metaphorical sword that is always hanging over the heads of insurance adjusters. However, if no jury verdicts ever hit for Plaintiff's then the sword might as well be bolted to the ceiling because there is no chance of it falling. Without the threat of a jury verdict, the insurance companies are much less inclined to settle with Plaintiff's for reasonable amounts of money. Only through an increase in jury verdicts (the increased likelihood of the sword falling) do insurance companies become motivated to provide injured persons fair compensation for their injuries.

Though I am optimistic that the pendulum of verdicts in Western, PA is swinging back towards Plaintiffs, the above statistics are important for purposes of tempering the sometimes unrealistic expectations of Plaintiffs. Share this post :
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