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Explaining "Pain and Suffering" Awards: The Role of Injury Characteristics and Fault Attributions
Roselle Wissler and David L. Evans et al.
21 Law and Human Behavior 181 (1997)
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The present empirical research explored factors thought to affect compensatory awards for non-economic ham ("pain and suffering") in personal injury cases. Experiment 1showed that the nature and severity of the plaintiffs' injury had a strong effect on perceptions of the extent of harm suffered and on award amounts. The parties' relatively active or passive roles in causing the injury affected assessments of their degree of fault, but perceived fault had little influence on awards. Experiment 2 replicated with more varied cases the strong impact of injury severity on harm perception and on awards for pain and suffering. In both studies, the disability and the mental suffering associated with injuries were stronger predictors of awards than were pain and disfigurement.
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