Compensation of Injuries

Civil Jury Verdicts in Cook County

by Mark A. Peterson

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This report describes types of injuries and losses claimed by plaintiffs, changes in claims during the 1960s and 1970s, and relationships between juries' decisions and (1) plaintiff's physical injury, (2) the economic loss suffered by plaintiff, (3) the type of lawsuit brought, and (4) the year in which the case was tried. The findings show that neither the types of injuries claimed by plaintiffs nor the level of compensation for most injuries changed appreciably between 1960 and 1980. However, compensation for the small number of cases that involved unusually severe injuries grew in recent years. The findings also show that compensation for similar injuries differed by as much as four-fold among different types of law suits, and that such differences increased in the 1970s. The report offers explanations for why compensation might differ among types of suits and describes further research that will examine some of these possible explanations.

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