Plaintiffs Won More Than 50% of 2005 State Court Civil Trials

According to a study conducted by the United States Department of Justice, Plaintiffs won more than 50% of state court civil trials throughout the U.S. in 2005. Surprisingly for trial lawyers such as this writer, plaintiffs were more likely to get favorable results in bench trials, in which the judge renders the decision, than in jury cases; specifically, plaintiffs won 68% of bench trials and 54% of jury trials. This Department of Justice study is the first of its kind involving general civil bench and jury trials in state courts throughout the United States.

There were approximately 27,000 civil cases analyzed that were resolved by bench or jury trials, in tort matters such as slip and fall accidents, car accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and defective products cases, among others. However, the most common type of negligence case reported involved motor vehicle accidents. The report found that the number of civil trials in the United States has dropped a whopping 52% from 1992 through 2005, and the average award decreased approximately 40% over that same 13 year period.

Awards have increased in two types of cases: products liability (defective products), in which median awards were 5 times higher in 2005 than in 1992, and in medical malpractice cases, in which verdicts more than doubled during that span. As a caveat, it must be repeated that this is a national study, and thus New York verdicts are only a small percentage of the whole. Consistent with this study, I have definitely seen a substantial decrease in cases taken to verdict in Westchester, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties, and jurors certainly have become more conservative in the last 16 years throughout New York State. However, I continue to believe that if the evidence is there, jurors will give just and proper compensation when the insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident, or are the victim of a defective product or medical malpractice, contact The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or at 888-761-7633 for a free consultation with an experienced, aggressive advocate who will fight to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.