Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Juries Handle Med Mal Cases

Some critics of the tort system say that juries can't handle medical malpractice cases. Now Prof. Philip G. Peters, Jr. (Univ. of Missouri at Columbia) "collects and synthesizes three decades of empirical research on jury decision-making."

It turned out that juries agreed with outside experts evaluating the cases in 80-90% of the cases where evidence of provider negligence is weak.

In about half the cases that the experts think the plaintiffs should win, the juries find for the doctors. Why? Peters suggests that doctors may enjoy an advantage in court because of such factors as

the defendant's superior resources, the social standing of physicians, social norms against "profiting" from an injury, and the jury's willingness to give physicians the benefit of the doubt" when the evidence of negligence is conflicting.
Philip G. Peters, Jr., SSRN-Doctors & Juries, 105 Mich. L. Rev. 1453 (May 2007). (My quotations are from the abstract on SSRN.)

Thanks: Day on Torts.

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