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Recent Research on Damages

  • 15 Dec 2020
  • 15 Dec 2025

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Available On Demand Webinars

Recent Research on Damages
(2018 ASTC Conference Video)
Presented by: Valerie Hans, PhD, Cornell Law School

Damage awards require the translation of qualitative assessments of the severity of an injury into dollar awards. Yet the qualitative-to-quantitative conversion is a challenging, understudied process.  Valerie Hans describes a new “gist model” of damage award decision making, based on the core assumption that damage award judgments typically rely on the underlying meaning or gist of an injury that is translated into a corresponding dollar amount. Ms. Hans and her collaborators have conducted a number of research studies to test this model with lay participants, lawyers, and judges. They’ve used experiments to explore how our study participants move from their assessments of pain and suffering to money damage award recommendations in personal injury tort cases. Ms. Hans will report detailed findings from these experiments, which showed the power of providing anchor numbers, particularly anchors that are meaningful in the context of the case.  She will also discuss how lay participants respond to attorney guidance about how to calibrate damages. Implications for trial consulting will be discussed.

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