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Personal Injury Damages: Limiting the Risk of Inflated Verdicts by Countering Plaintiff's Anchor

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

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss how defense counsel can counteract the damages figure suggested by the plaintiff's counsel - while still pressing for a defense verdict.


Study after study shows that the value a plaintiff's counsel first assigns to a case greatly influences jurors. Simply by requesting more significant damages at the outset, plaintiffs verdicts are higher. The results of this strategy can be staggering--verdicts of eight to 10 figures.

Parts of the defense bar have long operated on the belief that offering a counter value is tantamount to conceding liability, or that proffering a number will create a damages floor. But left with nothing else, juries rely on the plaintiff's valuation. Despite "tort reforms" and damages caps in many states, recoveries on even ordinary claims appear to have skyrocketed.

Is the "no-number" defense strategy still working? Although providing a value of the case may seem counterintuitive, some research shows that jury verdicts are between 20-40 percent lower when the defense addresses damages head-on. While there may be times not to offer a counter-value, pushing back on the plaintiff's significant number with an alternative amount can reduce the risk of a company-ending verdict.

Listen as our panel discusses when and how to offer alternative damage amounts to achieve lower verdicts and better results, as well as best practices for doing so.



  1. The traditional approaches to damages by plaintiffs and defendants
  2. Why plaintiffs offer a damages value from the first
  3. How defendants can establish their appraisal of the case
    1. Discovery requests
    2. Experts to assist on value
    3. Understanding what components of damages will be a challenge
  4. How defendants can address pain and suffering


The panel will review these another key issues:

  • Why is the first damages figure juries hear the most persuasive?
  • Is offering an alternative figure really conceding liability?
  • When is the best time to value the case for settlement purposes?
  • What is the defense's role in setting the case value at trial?


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

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