Consumer advocates are questioning whether Texas juries are still being fair to accident victims. A survey published by Jury Verdict Research (a subsidiary of an independent publisher of legal periodicals) reported that jury awards for injured Texans have dropped alarmingly since 1991. In 1990, Texas jury awards were already 20% below the national average. Since 1991, jury awards for injured people in Texas have dropped 59%, while the national median for jury awards has only decreased by 7.9%.
The survey also found that the median award for auto accident victims (who did not require surgery) dropped from $17,150 to $7,528 between 1991 and 1996 in Texas. The median award for all personal injury cases in Texas dropped from $50,000 to $20,289 between 1991 and 1996.
Lawyers who represent injured consumers and workers are not surprised by the survey results. They have known for a long time how difficult it is to get the average jury to fairly compensate someone they don't know.
Courthouse watchers blame "lawsuit abuse" campaigns for the trend towards inadequately compensating accident victims. They believe that these campaigns have unfairly biased juries against anyone who has to sue for fair compensation.
Many of these lawsuit abuse campaigns are heavily funded by insurance companies and big business. These are the same corporations that were once held fully accountable for unsafe products and workplaces by Texas juries.