Noneconomic Damages Due to Physical and Sexual Assault: Estimates from Civil Jury Awards
Forthcoming, Forensic Science & Criminology
Posted: 25 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 22, 2017
This paper presents a detailed study of jury awards for compensatory damages to victims of crime. Such awards typically result when victims sue third parties who are responsible for some form of negligence such as inadequate security or alcohol over-service. We obtained nationwide data on jury awards to crime victims and examined the relationship between physical losses, medical costs, offender and victim characteristics, and the ultimate compensatory jury award. Despite the large variability in jury awards, we were able to explain 45%-50% of the variation in the natural log of jury awards for physical assault. The awards systematically vary with the severity of physical injuries sustained by the victim. Considerably more variation is found in the case of sexual assault. We use our regressions to construct estimates of noneconomic damages – the pain, suffering and reduced quality of life endured by the average victim of violent crime in the U.S.
Keywords: Jury Awards, Noneconomic Damages, Victimization
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation