|January 2010 · Vol. 22, No. 01
Comment & Controversy
A strong case isn’t the main reason insurance companies settle
“AFRAID OF GETTING SUED? A PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY OFFERS COUNSEL (BUT NO SYMPATHY)” JANELLE YATES (OCTOBER 2009)
I strongly disagree with Dr. Laska about why insurance companies settle cases involving an infant who has brain damage. First, it is very difficult for a lay jury to comprehend the scientific evidence presented. Some of this evidence gets distorted by the theatrics on both sides. Second, and probably more important, is the sympathy factor. It is almost impossible for jurors not to feel sympathy for an impaired infant and the parents. In the absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the tendency is to side with the plaintiff for unreasonably large sums of someone else’s money! This, I believe, is what drives insurance companies to settle this type of case—not an overwhelming belief that negligence caused the unfortunate outcome.