3. Social media changes how
millennial jurors view the court
There are 82 million millennials in
the U.S., noted McMahon.
“One millennial poll suggests that
only 19 percent agree that most people
can be trusted. That’s a low number.”
Younger jurors tend to distrust
corporations more. And while there are
no concrete studies to show why this
might be, McMahon said it’s important
to note that “people 30 and under grew
up in a different world of technology
and worldview, with a profound
mistrust of the government.”
They began their formative years
right around the time of the 9/11
attacks. They were the first generation
introduced to new technologies that
connected them with the rest of the
world instantly. Again, social media
plays a role in how these jurors
approach their decision making.
Media;in general can aid in that
mistrust for corporate entities. One
lawyer observed that “having had
smartphones and Google at their
fingertips from a relatively early age,
many [millennials] actively keep up
with social, economic and political
“They know how to leverage
all this information for a purpose;
indeed, their passion and social
media resourcefulness can turn a
small movement into a considerable
4. Emotional stories impact the way
a jury thinks.
Imagine an adult being wheeled
into a courtroom with a cast on their
leg and a brace around their neck.
Now imagine the same scenario, only a
child is the one facing these hardships.
Who the plaintiff is can influence
how a jury might rule. Likeable
plaintiffs, ones who have a good family
and are relatable, see positive results.
Emotion plays an important part in
how the jury responds.
In one recent example, a baby was
injured after swallowing a small battery.
His parents called for paramedics,
and when they arrived, they told the
mother her baby would simply pass
the object. Unfortunately, the battery
corroded and destroyed the lining
in the baby’s esophagus, resulting in
multiple surgeries and a three-month
stay at the hospital.
The jury;awarded the
5. Jurors are asked to look at every
case with a ‘What if it were me?’
attitude, influencing how they seek
Juries are more inclined to side with
someone who is like them, someone
who is, in a way, the “little guy.” Any
wrongdoing on the part of the defense
is considered enough proof for a jury
to award the plaintiff.
The RAND Corporation
published a study, “Trends in Civil
Jury Verdicts,” which looked at data
from 15 different jurisdictions and
compared the verdicts across their
geographical location, populations,
race, household income and growth.
It concluded that “jury verdicts
influence the behavior of users of
the civil justice system by helping to
value future disputes and creating
legal precedents … Juries decide
cases totaling billions of dollars
annually, and jury decisions set
standards that influence social
As more juries side with the
plaintiff in personal injury suits, a
costly precedent is set. Justice is
perceived as having been served
when an injured party wins out, even
if the defense did the right thing. &
AUTUMN HEISLER is the digital producer
and staff writer for Risk & Insurance®.
She can be reached at email@example.com.
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