The U.S. Department of Justice recently released a report detailing statistics about tort bench and jury trials in state courts in 2005. A tort involves one party alleging injury, damage or loss stemming from negligent or intentional acts by another party. According to the report, titled “Tort Bench and Jury Trials in State Courts, 2005,” torts accounted for about 60 percent of the estimated 26,948 tort, contract, and real property cases disposed of by bench or jury trial in state courts of general jurisdiction in 2005.
The report states that during 2005, an estimated 16,397 tort cases were disposed of by bench or jury trial in a national sample of state courts. Juries heard about 90 percent of the cases.
Bench and jury trials together accounted for an estimated 4 percent of all tort depositions in 2005.
Almost 60 percent of tort trials were automobile accident cases, and 15 percent involved medical malpractice claims.
Plaintiffs won about half of all tort trials.
Half of plaintiff winners in tort trials were awarded $24,000 or less in damages.
Punitive damages were sought in 9 percent of tort trials with winning plaintiffs, and the median punitive damage award was $55,000.
In the nation’s 75 most populous counties, the number of tort trials declined by about a third between 1996 and 2005.
In 2005, plaintiffs won 48 percent of all tort trials, including 61 percent of automobile accident trials, 19.4 percent of medical malpractice trials, 38.9 percent of premises liability trials, 50.4 percent of intentional tort trials, and 37.9 percent of product liability trials.
Median awards were $31,000 for all tort trials; $16,000 for automobile accident; $679,000 for medical malpractice; $90,000 for premises liability; $100,000 for intentional tort; and $748,000 for product liability.
Percentage of plaintiffs that won punitive damages was 3.6 percent for all tort trials; 1.6 percent for automobile accident; 2.6 percent for medical malpractice; 0.5 percent for premises liability; 24.3 percent for intentional tort; and 1.3 percent for product liability.
The median length of disposition of the tort case was 23 months for all tort trials; 20 months for automobile accident; 30.7 months for medical malpractice; 24 months for premises liability; 25.3 months for intentional tort; and 30 months for product liability.
It took six days to try the average medical malpractice lawsuit. Asbestos trials lasted an average of 13 days in trial, while other types of product liability cases lasted an average of 7 days.
Judges found for plaintiffs in 56 percent of tort trials, while juries ruled in favor of plaintiffs in 51 percent of tort trials.
In lawsuits involving medical malpractice, non-asbestos product liability, false arrest, or false imprisonment, plaintiffs prevailed less than a quarter of the time.
In Fulton County, Georgia, 52.9 percent of tort trials in state courts were automobile accident; 23.5 were premises liability; 5.9 percent were product liability; and 11.8 percent were medical malpractice.
If you’ve been through negligent or intentional acts by another party, contact an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.