Explaining 'Pain and Suffering' Awards: The Role of Injury Characteristics and Fault Attributions

Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 181, 1997

Posted: 13 Dec 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

See all articles by Roselle Wissler

Roselle Wissler

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Allen J. Hart

Amherst College

David C. Evans

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Marian Morry

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Michael J. Saks

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

The present empirical research explored factors thought to affect compensatory awards for non-economic ham ("pain and suffering") in personal injury cases. Experiment 1showed that the nature and severity of the plaintiffs' injury had a strong effect on perceptions of the extent of harm suffered and on award amounts. The parties' relatively active or passive roles in causing the injury affected assessments of their degree of fault, but perceived fault had little influence on awards. Experiment 2 replicated with more varied cases the strong impact of injury severity on harm perception and on awards for pain and suffering. In both studies, the disability and the mental suffering associated with injuries were stronger predictors of awards than were pain and disfigurement.

Keywords: Damages, Personal Injury, Juror Decision Making

Suggested Citation

Wissler, Roselle and Hart, Allen J. and Evans, David C. and Morry, Marian and Saks, Michael J., Explaining 'Pain and Suffering' Awards: The Role of Injury Characteristics and Fault Attributions (1997). Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 181, 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1724732

Roselle Wissler (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Allen J. Hart

Amherst College ( email )

Amherst, MA 01002
United States

David C. Evans

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Marian Morry

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Michael J. Saks

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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