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Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation: Social Inflation’s Impact on Jury Verdicts & How to Safeguard Against It

Cianflone Nishan Myers Social Inflation ImpactIn an article published in the Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation, Partner Sandy Cianflone and Associates Lindsay Nishan and Samantha Myers discuss the impact of social media on the rising costs of medical malpractice litigation and nuclear verdicts.

According to the authors, a juror’s perception of companies and healthcare providers is increasingly colored by television and social media. The same is true for their understanding of the practice of law or medicine.

“Social factors have conditioned jurors to believe that excessively large verdicts are the only answer to making plaintiffs whole, especially in cases considered to be sympathetically charged. Such cases tug at the reptilian parts of jurors’ brains, prompting them to award plaintiffs higher verdicts in an effort to hold the defendant accountable to society for any dangerous or unsafe condition or practice ­– and not just accountable to the plaintiff in that particular case at that moment in the courtroom,” they wrote in the article.

The impact, they said, can be seen in the rising costs of health care.

“The cost of nuclear verdicts has a direct impact on the costs of healthcare. The higher the verdict, the more future malpractice insurance premiums will increase. This, in turn, increases the cost of healthcare services,” they wrote.

Subscribers may read the full article on the Journal of Emerging Issues in Litigation site.

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