Myth of Excessive Jury Awards

WRONGLY BLAMES JURIES FOR EXCESSIVE AWARDS Here we go again, another misled op-ed columnist needs to fill column inches and goes for the easy out — criticizing the legal system. The editorial staff at the D.C. Examiner takes the odd event – a large jury award – to say “the system is broken” and then go on to advocate the “corporate interest line” that the best way to fix things are to limit your rights. The editors seem to think it is wrong that a person can collect for damages caused by corporate malfeasance when they were not wearing their seat belts, whether or not a seat belt would have saved a person’s life. The law in many places states that not wearing your seat-belt is not negligence. Perhaps not a good idea, but not negligence. So, instead of advocating for a change in the law to inform jurors of when a person is wearing a seat belt (or not), they want to limit your ability to pay for your damages. Do you see the difference? Instead of saying, “the solution to the problem is to give jurys more information” the corporate world says, “limit the jury’s ability to do its job of finding damages.” This is a BIG difference, and states their priorities. For the cases they cite, the decedents were all young heads of household. Who is going to pay for the losses to those families. If the corporate wrong-doer does not pay, who does? The victim pays, but so do taxpayers in the form of welfare, healthcare costs, and so on. Why do corporate wrong-doers deserve such a tax subsidy? Because they pay lobbyists to bribe your congressmen or bully editors at local newspapers to write these obnoxious, ill-informed essays. The same people who fight tooth-and-nail to execute criminals as fast as possible, and trust juries to set that punishment, complain that juries are not capable of making a rational decision after hearing evidence of the impact a death or seriously disabling injury can have on a family. Those same people don’t trust a jury to decide how much a person’s life is worth, and how much it will cost to replace that life. Those same people also forget that the law provides for a mechanism to reduce damage awards that are excessive. I guess the judge on the case is also incapable of making an informed decision? Who is? The editors at the Examiner?

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