Managing Jurors in Catastrophic Personal Injury Trials: Voir Dire, Jury Selection, and Countering Sympathy

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Monday, May 10, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide defense counsel through voir dire and jury selection techniques in cases involving catastrophic personal injury claims and discuss ways to counter jurors' sympathy during a trial.


A catastrophic injury is a severe injury that results in permanent disability, long-term medical problems, or a reduced life expectancy. Catastrophic injuries often result in devastating consequences for the plaintiff, and evidence may trigger a sympathetic reaction from jurors, resulting in a high award for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

In personal injury cases, the plaintiff who has suffered a catastrophic injury is suing a defendant they believe is responsible for their damages. However, the cause of such injuries is not necessarily the defendant's responsibility.

Defense counsel must carefully select jurors who will be least likely to issue a verdict based solely on their emotional response to the plaintiff's injuries. Once defense counsel has identified a suitable jury panel, they must then work to counter juror sympathy through direct and cross-examination of the witnesses. In doing so, defense counsel should have specific and concrete strategies for each fact or expert witness.

Listen as our distinguished panel provides essential guidance to defense attorneys on navigating voir dire and jury selection, as well as countering jury sympathy, throughout a catastrophic injury trial.



  1. Assessing the impact of testimony regarding catastrophic injuries on low vs. high affect jurors
  2. Discussion of how to use voir dire to select low affect jurors
  3. Strategies in questioning fact and expert witnesses to counter juror sympathy
  4. Analysis of the importance of economic vs. non-economic damages to jurors and the impact of sympathy on both


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • How do jurors approach catastrophic personal injury claims?
  • How can defense attorneys use voir dire to select jurors that will be able to evaluate the facts objectively?
  • How should defense attorneys approach fact and expert witnesses to counter jury sympathy?


Boggs, Beth
Beth C. Boggs

Managing Partner
Boggs Avellino Lach & Boggs

Ms. Boggs concentrates her practice in civil litigation involving construction defect, insurance coverage, employment...  |  Read More

Bush, Cheryl
Cheryl A. Bush

Founding Member
Bush Seyferth

Ms. Bush has extensive first-chair trial experience and has obtained exceptionally positive results for her clients,...  |  Read More

Lewis, Regina
Regina Hollins Lewis

Gaffney Lewis

Ms. Lewis focuses her defense practice in the areas of tort and employment litigation and represents companies in a...  |  Read More

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