Fusion of Liability and Damages
Numerous scientific studies have shown that, contrary to the intent of the legal system, jurors often “fuse” liability and damages decisions. Plaintiffs who are more comparatively negligent often have their damages reduced by jurors, producing a double discounting effect. Similarly, severely injured plaintiffs cause jurors to find defendants more blameworthy. The psychological phenomenon known as the “hindsight bias” explains the liability/damages fusion. Hindsight bias is the “I knew it all along” rationalization which occurs when an outcome of an event is known (the scenario in all civil lawsuits). When an event has a known outcome, jurors misperceive that they could have predicted it. It is jurors’ inability to ignore the parties’ negligence when determining damages that produces the fusion effect.
Contact the Litigation Consultants at Magnus to learn more about the fusion effect.