Damage Suits: The Price-Tag Problem

The stars of the "negligence bar" are courtroom impresarios who seek whopping damages in exchange for a fat cut of the plaintiff's proceeds. Those stars are shining so brightly that jury awards for serious personal injuries are rising by 14% a year and beleaguered insurance companies are crying foul—appealing out-of-court to the public.

Latest blast comes in a 43-page monograph from Milwaukee's Defense Research Institute, which represents 225 companies and 3,800 defense lawyers. Chief target of the D.R.I, is the ad damnum (damages) clause that puts a specific price tag on the injury at issue. Strictly speaking, the dollar amount...

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