In a recent web survey, we presented a catastrophic injury case about a woman in a persistent vegetative state with a relatively long life expectancy. The evidence, arguments, law, and verdict form were presented to 298 online respondents. 198 of them found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded damages. The plaintiff presented evidence that care currently costs $550,000 per year. The defense offered three alternative plans that ranged from $255,000 per year to $425,000 per year.
The vast majority of respondents awarded damages that were consistent with one of the plans offered by either side. Only 12 people out of 198 (6%) “split the difference.”
We followed up the web survey with a mock trial. As in the web survey, only a few wanted to split the difference. Here is a snippet of how a couple of jurors explained why they would split the difference.
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