Jury Verdicts and Health Literacy
How do juries decide medical malpractice cases? What factors come into play? What role does health literacy play? These questions were recently addressed in an article in DRI’s July issue of its monthly magazine, For The Defense. One of our partners, Tom Leverage, collaborated with Sue Seif of Seif and Associates to produce this article.
Sue Seif is the founder of Seif and Associates, a company that specializes in medical graphics for the defense bar. Together with Tom Leverage, they joined forces bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to these questions. Sue drew upon her knowledge and research in the social sciences especially in the area of the communication of complex concepts. Her company specializes in making trial exhibits that provide a graphic and visual display of the issues that must be understood by jurors in medical malpractice cases. Tom drew upon his courtroom experiences in trying complex cases and added war stories from the trenches to help illustrate the application of the principles identified by Sue.
In a medical malpractice case, the health literacy of the potential jurors is a factor to consider in jury selection. Depending on the venue and the particular panel that an attorney has to select the jury from, the collective health literacy of the jury may vary considerably from jury to jury. The goal of persuading that selected jury with that level of health literacy to reach a defense verdict is affected by many complex factors. The article by Sue and Tom demonstrates the important role that medical graphics plays in helping advance the goal of reaching a defense verdict.