Injuries, Prior Beliefs, and Damage Awards

Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol.15, No. 63, 1997

Posted: 14 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

Michael J. Saks

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

Jason W. Feehan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

Two empirical studies investigated how people’s prior beliefs about injury-causing incidents affect damages awarded in personal injury cases. In Study 1, participants were asked to describe what they thought were the typical features of four types of injury-producing incidents. Participants' descriptions indicated that people have prior beliefs about car accidents, falls, defective products, and medical malpractice. In Study 2, additional participants were asked to award damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases in which the plaintiff had sustained an injury that was either common to or unusual for the type of incident, as determined from the descriptions obtained in Study 1. Larger and more variable damage awards were made for accidents that resulted in schema-inconsistent injuries.

Keywords: personal injury, juror decision making, damages

Suggested Citation

Wissler, Roselle and Hart, Allen J. and Evans, David C. and Saks, Michael J. and Feehan, Jason W., Injuries, Prior Beliefs, and Damage Awards (1997). Behavioral Sciences & the Law, Vol.15, No. 63, 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1724764

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 )

Michael J. Saks

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

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Jason W. Feehan

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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