Nuclear Verdicts

The “nuclear verdict” is an unexpectedly high damage award that appears to exceed rational parameters in civil cases. Verdicts with monetary awards that far exceed expectations are a growing concern among the insurance industry and defense litigators leading to a sense of alarm that damage awards are spiraling out of control. In this presentation we trace the historical trends in this phenomenon; provide observations from scientific approaches that may be useful in shifting from speculation to more established factual conclusions; and address the much-needed perspective of prediction and control over these awards.