Periodically, societal events intervene in otherwise static processes like evaluating personal injury cases and verdicts. As has been explored here before, the insurance industry has worked industriously and systematically to reduce the value of Maryland personal injury cases and verdicts.
But is this devaluing solely the fruit of the insurance industry's labor or other factors such as adverse economic circumstances or concern about diseases?
Sometimes the understanding of such things proves elusive until well after the fact. The so-called " Great Recession" at the end of the George W. Bush administration was thought to have reduced case values as many members of society lost employment and were otherwise badly economically damaged.
The actual experience at least anecdotally proved otherwise for Clark and Steinhorn's clients as a number of large verdicts were garnered both during this period and for several years after.
Thus, the question is, will the covid 19 pandemic reduce case values as jurors will be less sympathetic to injured victims of car accidents and medical negligence?
Social scientists solicit opinions from members of the public on their overall mood and how it affects their behavior. Once this information is culled we may have a better notion of whether jurors are more or less sympathetic to injury victims and their loved ones.
There is little doubt that past elections in which Republican candidates have castigated trial lawyers have served to make jurors more skeptical whereas the Great Recession seems to have made jurors somewhat more understanding.
I suspect that the pandemic may serve to enhance verdicts in more serious cases and to reduce verdicts and consequently settlements in more minor cases.
Hopefully, we will emerge from this and see.