Articles Posted in Connecticut

The average personal injury verdict at trial in Connecticut is $2,519,637, according to Jury Verdict Research.

This is great ammo if you are a personal injury lawyer trying to trump up the value of your case or if you are a tort reform advocate trying to show that juries are going wild. But this is unbelievably misleading.

The median personal injury verdict in Connecticut is $22,499, less than 10% of the average. Only 4% of verdicts exceed $1 million and I would love to see how many of these verdicts are actually collected. My guess? Less than half. Someone got a $326 million verdict in this study. I didn’t look up the verdict but somehow I doubt someone wrote a $326 million check.

The Connecticut Supreme Court issued an opinion last week in Monti v. Wenkert, a medical malpractice case involving a seventeen year-old girl whose fatal viral infection was dismissed as psychological by her doctors. The case involved a high-low agreement that was not disclosed the court or the other medical malpractice defendant.

The Connecticut Supreme Court found that such agreements must be disclosed but called the failure to disclose in this case was harmless error because the agreement came after the Plaintiffs’ had rested their case and because the agreement did not change the adversarial alignment of the parties.

You can find the full opinion of the Connecticut Supreme Court in Monti v. Wenkert here.

In litgation that is a byproduct of the Ford Explorer rollover lawsuits, Ford Explorer owners will be “compensated” in a settlement because of the loss of value of the Explorer because of the perceived rollover danger. This settlement covers about 800,000 people who purchased Explorers in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas.

Unfortunately, the only people who will get a significant recovery will be the lawyers who brought these claims. Explorer owners will only be eligible for vouchers for $300 to purchase new vehicles Ford or Lincoln Mercury vehicles (or $500 off the Ford Explorer). Practically, the car dealers will just negotiate a higher sales price on the car the sale of the car, reducing the list price less than they otherwise would.

Accordingly, this settlement is worthless to everyone except for the lawyers bringing these claims. The frustrating thing about this is that 800,000 people see this settlement and think, “Geez, what a scam, the only people that really profit from this are the lawyers.” For personal injury victims and their lawyers, this does not help when one of these 800,000 people shows up on a jury.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, anti-psychotic drugs were prescribed to 26% of nursing home residents without a diagnosed psychotic or related condition, in other words, off label prescriptions to sedate patients that may or may not need it. Connecticut was second only to Louisiana in dispensing such medications.

Nursing homes in Connecticut and elsewhere are prohibited by federal law from dispensing medications for the purposes of discipline or convenience of the nursing home. (I don’t know about you but it depresses me that anyone would think to give an anti-psychotic drug as as discipline.) This has not stopped a lot of nursing homes from dispensing these drugs for reasons that having nothing to do with the patient’s best interests.

In Connecticut, I would keep a close eye on Chelsea Place Care Center in Hartford and Wethersfield Health Care Center in Wethersfield two facilities that have had problems but are beginning to improve, according to the federal government.

A recent study conducted by Jury Verdict Research found the median compensation in personal injury trials in Connecticut is $17,391 and injury victims obtain a financial recovery in 58% of cases that go to trial. This is less than half the national average.

One reason why the personal injury verdicts in Connecticut are particularly low is that the small claims limit maximum in personal injury cases is $5,000. Accordingly, Connecticut personal injury lawyers are required to seek jury trials for smaller cases that would not warrant a jury trial in other jurisdictions. So the number, while disconcerting for Connecticut injury victims and their lawyers, may be someone misleading.