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LNCtips.com: 4 Things Jurors Don't Know


When attorneys try medical malpractice cases, jurors listen to evidence and expert opinions presented by both the plaintiff and defense attorneys.  However neither plaintiff nor defensive attorneys tell four things they know to jurors.  Here are the four things that jurors don't know.

1)  Prior defendants in the case.  Let's say that a plaintiff's case initially involved seven defendants - a hospital, an ARNP, a physician assistant, and four physicians.  The hospital, the ARNP, the physician assistant, and two physicians settled out of the case, leaving two physician defendants remaining.  Because of statute or case law, those defendants' attorneys likely won't mention the other defendants.  Even though they're not supposed to, determined jury members could find this information out by searching the county clerk of court's website.

2)  Settlement amounts from the other defendants. Using the case example above, the  attorneys probably won't tell jurors that five defendants settled from the case, and the attorneys most likely won't inform them the amount that each defendant paid.  Statutes and judicial decisions on this topic vary from state to state, but the majority of states limit the admissibility of settlement agreements because that knowledge might affect the amount of a jury award.

3)  Whether defendants have insurance coverage or not.  This is a question that jurors frequently want to know.  However, in some states, providing the status of defendants' insurance coverage is statutorily prohibited.  Even though they're not supposed to, jurors might be able to locate this information on the internet.  For example, Florida's practitioner profile provides information about the amount of medical malpractice insurance that physicians and ARNPs have.  It also provides information about settlement amounts from prior litigation cases, if any.

4)  Amount the plaintiff's attorney will be paid for a plaintiff verdict.  Plaintiff attorneys often get 33-40% of jury awards.  However,  jurors usually don't know how much the plaintiff firm will be paid if there is a verdict in the plaintiff's favor.

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...Katy Jones