Saturday, August 11, 2012

If you win a big verdict, just how do you collect on it? | Virginia Lawyers Weekly

If you win a big verdict, just how do you collect on it? | Virginia Lawyers Weekly: "Ever wonder what happens after the headlines trumpeting the latest huge jury verdict are gone?

Do the plaintiffs actually collect the amount the jury awarded? How often and how much?

Rick Friedman, a Seattle attorney who lectures to trial lawyers on jury trials, estimates that 10 percent or less of personal injury verdicts are fully collected.

He reached that number by extrapolating from a 2009 Department of Justice study, which found that while plaintiffs win about half of personal injury trials, a “win” includes as little as $1 in compensation.

The study also revealed a surprisingly anemic median jury award in tort cases of $24,000.

“That means half of personal injury [jury] verdicts are under $24,000,” said Friedman.

Whether a verdict is reduced by the trial judge, overturned or reduced on appeal by a higher court, or settled for less than the jury awarded, collecting a verdict is a high hurdle for plaintiffs’ attorneys.

“It’s like gambling against the house in Las Vegas. The defendant has every advantage,” said Friedman."

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