What Is The Jury’s Role In An Out-of-Court Settlement?

It might seem silly to suggest that a jury could play a role in an out-of-court settlement. Yet that is the case, because, during negotiations, each side tries to guess what a jury would decide, if the case were to go to trial.

4 factors affect the jury’s decision

Issues relating to the liability for the accident: If more than one person can be held liable, the jury must decide who gets a certain percentage of the reward, and what should be the size of that same percentage. Sometimes, there is more than one defendant.

Any jurisdictional caps on the reward’s size: A jury does not know about the existence of any jurisdictional cap on the size of a reward during its deliberations. After the verdict has been read, the judge has the right to cut the size of the jury’s award. Unlike juries, lawyers have become familiar with the existence of caps, within a given jurisdiction.

The award’s value, once its present value has been established: Sometimes it becomes the jury’s job to determine the size of a plaintiff’s future potential earnings. Yet the court does not create a long-term payment plan. Hence, the value of the future earnings must be changed into an amount that equals their present-day value.

Collateral sources for payments: Knowledge of such source on the part of negotiators can reduce the size of a settlement. In contrast to that situation, juries are not told about the existence of any collateral sources. In other words, that knowledge has no effect on their deliberations.

The influence created by juries in the past

Each jury’s past verdict has been recorded. In that way, each verdict becomes a guideline for the next group of 12 men and women that need to deliberate, while a plaintiff and defendant await their decision. Understand that the judge normally tells that group of 12 to base its decision on the evidence and the law. It is not supposed to be swayed by emotions. Still, it is allowed to follow the guidelines created by other juries’ decisions.

So, if a past decision reflects the emotions of the jurors, that group of 12 does have the right to feel guided by that same verdict. In other words, jurors do have some ability to get swayed by their emotions. Injury lawyers in Hamilton must study the record of past verdicts. Based on that study, an attorney must guess at what the verdict for a given client’s case might be, if it were to go to trial. In any dispute, both sides can have access to lawyers, which must carry out that type of analysis. In that way, juries’ influence does play a part in out-of-court settlements.