We are all inundated by often-tacky lawyer commercials anytime we watch television or listen to radio. Legal ads now are topping taxis, smiling down from billboards and are spilling down the side of buses.
One would think that the Shelby County courthouse is just handing out free money to claimants and their well-dressed attorneys. But is the perception of “jackpot justice” a reality?
How about a test?
1. How many $100,000.00+ jury verdicts in car accidents do you think there are each year in Shelby County?
d. 21 or more
e. None of the Above.
In mid to late 2015, for instance, reported cases I reviewed from Shelby County revealed zero (0) jury verdicts in car accident cases higher than $75,000.
2. How many jury verdicts for the patient in medical malpractice do you think there are each year in Shelby County?
i. 21 or more
j. None of the Above.
In mid to late 2015, reported cases I reviewed from Shelby County revealed zero (0) jury verdicts for the Plaintiff. Doctors won two outright and a mistrial was caused by a hung jury on the third.
Granted, there are significant out-of-court settlements that are not reported. I personally had several larger cases in the $100,000- $900,000 category in 2015 that are not listed anywhere. But it is worth pointing out that the system seems to be geared towards resolving cases short of trial more often than not. And when trial is had, more often than not the defendants have picked a case to oppose that has shortcomings they maybe able to exploit for a lower verdict.
Juries are not as loose with the pocketbook as you might have thought. Notice, however, the large drop in litigation and verdicts has not reduced our insurance premiums one little bit.