What Factors Affect Personal Injury Verdicts?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

There are many factors that may influence personal injury verdicts, including the laws of the particular jurisdiction and the type of injury the plaintiff says he has suffered. The treatment methods used to deal with the injury may prove important as well. Additionally, any preexisting conditions the plaintiff has may help sway the verdict one way or the other.

People consulting with a personal injury lawyer after a car accident.
People consulting with a personal injury lawyer after a car accident.

Laws in a particular jurisdiction are among the chief factors in personal injury verdicts. Different jurisdictions may have different laws when it comes to types of personal injuries, how fault is determined, and how the level of harm is assessed. Additionally, each jurisdiction may have unique laws when it comes to determining the type of evidence that is admissible in court.

Besides jurisdiction-specific laws, the type of harm a person suffered also can be an important factor in a personal injury verdict. There are different types of personal injury claims — some involve physical injuries a person has suffered while others may involve mental or emotional harm. Cases that involve physical injuries may be easier to decide because of medical records and sometimes even physical scars. With a physical injury, a jury or judge does not have to wonder whether a person has truly suffered harm.

The treatment a person received may also play a role in personal injury verdicts. In many cases, the plaintiff has a better chance of winning a personal injury case if he has been treated multiple times versus seeing a doctor once or twice. It is, however, important that the treatment provided for a particular type of injury seems reasonable. If it seems that the treatment duration was stretched far beyond a reasonable length of time or if the treatment doesn't seem to match the injury, a judge or jury may be less likely to believe the plaintiff and decide on his behalf.

Often, preexisting conditions are among the factors that affect personal injury verdicts. In order to win a personal injury case, a plaintiff usually has to demonstrate that the defendant caused his injury. If the plaintiff already had a condition that is similar to the injury he’s claiming, this could influence the outcome of his case. For example, if a person with a preexisting back injury injures his back on the job, the judge or jury may believe that the workplace injury made his preexisting condition worse. On the other hand, however, the judge or jury could believe the pain he describes is purely the result of his preexisting condition.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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